Seven Sea Safety Tips?
1. Tide Times
Some beaches look vast but in a blink of an eye all that sand is replaced by ocean water, cutting off unsuspecting paddlers. Other waters hardly seem to move between high and low tide, but have a strong current dragging away from land on a falling tide. Check out the tide tables in your area to work out when the tide is on its way in, and the difference in metres between low and high tide.
2. Rip Tides
Rip tides are stretches of water that drag you straight out to sea, no matter how hard you try to swim back. If you get caught in one, swim sideways until you escape it, as they are usually fairly narrow. Better yet, know what they look like (often they look like inviting calm patches between the waves), and check for any warning signs near the beach.
On lifeguarded beaches search for flags to find out if and where it’s safe to go in the water. Red and yellow means life guarded area between the flags. Black and white means a launch area for surfers, kayakers and SUPs, so don’t swim here. Red means Danger do not enter the water. If an orange windsock is flying don’t take inflatables into the sea as it means offshore winds which will blow you out to sea.
Swells are waves of different sizes caused by weather systems many miles away. Larger swells make the sea difficult to navigate. Up to 1 metre is classed as slight, up to 2 metres = moderate, up to 3 metres = rough, and up to 4.5 metres = very rough. Be aware of predicted swells and plan according to your abilities.
It may be a beautiful day when you set out, but certain areas of the U.K. are renowned for how quickly the weather changes. Check the forecast before you go, and have a contingency plan and safety equipment for sudden unexpected thunderstorms.
Don’t even think of going in the water under the influence. You need your wits about you to safely enjoy the experience.
Tell a friend/family member where you’re going, and go with at least 1 other person, so they can raise the alarm in an emergency. If you get into trouble dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. Take a whistle, light, and waterproofed phone with you to call for help, and also signal for help by shouting and waving your arms crossed above your head.