Jetting off to a hot country for your holiday promises sun, sea and sand! While many of us long for the days of relaxing on soft, golden sands and taking a dip in clear, enticing waters, it’s important to be vigilant about your beach safety.
From protecting your skin to guarding your valuable possessions, check out our 10 top tips for a safe beach day…
1. Check for lifeguards
It’s best to choose a beach patrolled by lifeguards on your holiday, especially if you’re with children. While this is not always possible, it’s far more reassuring to know you have someone there looking out for you and your family.
If you get into trouble in the waters, stick your hand in the air and shout for help. Make sure your children understand this regime in case you get separated. If your beach is not being patrolled, ensure you remain alert and aware of the dangers out there (understanding what the beach flags mean is key to knowing when and where you should swim).
2. Stock up on sun cream
Perhaps a predictable piece of advice is to stock up on sun cream! Check your sun cream has not expired (most expire after two/three years) as out-of-date lotions won’t work as well to shield you from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Ensure you’ve picked the right sun cream for you too – if you have sensitive skin or tend to burn quickly, choose a lotion with SPF 15 or higher. It’s also important to remember water doesn’t hide you from the sun – it dangerously reflects UV rays and increases your exposure and chance of burning. Keep topping it up!
3. Avoid prime time
Check the prime time of when the heat will strike on your beach day so you can try to avoid exposing yourself to the sun for too many hours at the peak of the day.
Go early, wait until it’s cooler or take long breaks in the shade to avoid burning or becoming unwell from too much exposure.
4. Dress wisely
Wearing the right clothing will protect you if you’re exposing yourself to the sun for a long time. Test out your wardrobe by holding a piece of clothing to the sun; if you can see through it, UV rays will be able to get through to your skin.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, ears and eyes. Ensure your sunglasses have a label saying that they block UV rays – this is what protects you.
5. Stay hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated on a beach day. The longer you’re exposed to the sun, the more dehydrated you’ll become. Try and avoid drinks containing caffeine – stick to water or other hydrating beverages. Keep a reusable bottle with you so you can top it up when possible.
6. Stay away from inflatables in strong winds
Avoid using inflatables such as lilos and inflatable dinghies when there are strong winds or rough seas. You can easily become swept out to sea if you’re holding onto an inflatable object in these conditions.
7. Don’t drink and swim
Drinking and alcohol don’t mix! Drinking alcohol puts you at risk of being unaware of the symptoms of dehydration and heat stroke while drastically impairing your senses in the waters.
After you drink, your sense of distance can be altered and you may end up swimming out of your depth or beyond where you can be seen. While it’s tempting to enjoy some exotic drinks before taking a dip in the sea, to ensure your safety, it’s best to avoid doing so.
8. Be aware of the tide
Keep a lookout for the water coming in to avoid becoming stranded by the tide. This is especially important if you’re exploring beach coves or rock pools which may distract from you how fast the tide is coming in.
9. Don’t bring valuables
Make sure someone’s looking after your possessions at all times. To avoid losing anything important, it’s best to avoid bringing your valuables to the beach at all – but sometimes this is unavoidable.
Never leave your bags unattended – some beaches may offer a locker of service to look after your valuables so check in advance.
10. Look out for each other
Whether you’re on holiday with your family, partner or group of friends, looking out for each other is one of the best ways to ensure everyone stays safe.
Ensure you’re all aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in particular so you can act fast if one of your party begins to suffer. Signs include weakness, tiredness, a headache, heavy sweating and muscle cramps. If someone appears to be suffering, take them to a cool place to lie down, cool their skin and give them a cold drink. If the condition is severe, call for an ambulance.