Brighton Beach Sea Safety Basics
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1. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard if you see anyone in danger or attempting to enter the water in dangerous conditions.
2. Make sure the Coastguard is clearly visible to guide people back to the beach and out of danger. In other words, make sure the Coastguard are in an appropriate location, so they can see anyone entering the water. There may be a time however, when only certain parts of the beach require Coastguard patrols and this is something you need to discuss with them on a case by case basis. e. g if there is a particular rocky area of the beach where most accidents happen then it could be appropriate to focus on this area.
2. Call 101 and ask for police assistance if you see someone displaying concerning behaviour near the cliff edges, such as sniffing, shaking, or outbursts of angry shouts. Police would prefer to attend this kind of situation than to be called in once it has become a serious incident. If you notice someone in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Do your best to give as much information as possible to the operator (where you are, how many people are in the water, etc).
2. Know your tide changes and what this means for swimmers, especially Spring tides.
Although there are multiple times when the tide changes every day, most people refer to two points in time in which the tide 'turns'. The high tide and low tide. The change in the height of water that a sea or ocean experiences twice a day is referred to as Tidal Range. The distance between the highest and lowest level that the tide reaches at any given location is called Tidal Ordinate. During spring tides, the moon and earth are aligned so that their tidal forces reinforce one another.
The result is a stronger high tide and a deeper low tide than normal. In addition, the height difference between high tide and low tide is greater than normal. You can expect more extreme waves, stronger currents, and more flooding during spring tides. 2. Ask the Coastguard if there is a designated lifeguarded area. Depending on the Weather, you may not need to go swimming at all. If there are red flags flying then you shouldn’t go in the water.
4. Dont go swimming under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
A rough sea, or ill health such as a cold can cause your body temperature to drop into hypothermia. Symptoms to look out for is shivering, numbness and stumbling. If you start feeling like this go into shore immediately and get warm. Alcohol has the same effect as the water. it lowers your core temperature. On top of this, being drunk reduces your swimming ability and disinhibits you making poor swimming decisions. In an emergency situation this can quickly turn around to become a fatal situation.
If you find yourself in trouble in the water, you are advised to call for help as it can be pretty hard to yell for help at all when you are struggling or worse, drowning. The English channel can get pretty rough even on a sunny day because the island has a lot of currents and waves thus this can also frustrate attempts to rescue someone in a swimming situation. When you’re in a river, or ocean and the temperature changes from one area to another, you could be hit with a cold shock.
5. Know how to spot and escape rip currents
A rip current is caused by the breaking and rising of waves. A weaker part of the wave, generally found at the shoreline, breaks or splits, travels offshore and then returns towards the shore, under the influence of wind and/or wave action. Rip currents form a channel through the water; it is typically semi-circular but can sometimes be full circular in shape. Water flows or ‘rips’ from side to side in an established pattern making it easier for them to be identified.
Their strength depends on weather conditions, for instance if there is a strong wind waves will break further ashore leading to stronger rip currents. Many people underestimate the power of a rip current and put themselves at risk. The best thing to do if you get caught in one is to swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the rip current, then head for the shore. Once you are free of the current, make sure swim parallel to shore back towards where you started your swim from.
If you try to swim directly against a rip current, you’ll only tire yourself out; it will extend your time in the water and put yourself at risk. Also remember to never swim in an area without lifeguards; there can be hidden dangerous!. You get to the beach ready to enjoy a beautiful day at the shore. You slowly take your shirt off, lay it down, and slowly step into the water. As you readjust your glasses in preparation to put them into your beach bag, you hear that gut wrenching scream of a drowning person.
Your head snaps up, you see a family with young children bobbing around in distress. Your first thought is that this is a joke right? How could they have possibly gotten caught in a rip current?. It is somewhat common knowledge that the waters of the ocean can be hazardous if you do not know what you are doing. However, the sea is often deceptive and it can become very challenging to spot rip currents.
6. Beware of weaver fish and consider wearing swimming shoes.
I won’t lie, the sea is a mysterious and dangerous place. We think we’re safe, bobbing up and down in our flimsy fabric tubes, but it doesn’t take much to change that. There are so many things that can go wrong on even the best planned sea swim: strong currents, jelly fish, sharks and if by some crazy chance you don’t manage to drown – there are all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures lurking around waiting to sting your unsuspecting toes or impale you with their venomous spikes.
The best thing to do is to watch out for them when you’re posing on a rock or picking shells. If you do happen to get stung there are some things you can try to ease the pain such as vinegar and (if you have any) meat tenderizer. As with all fish stings, prevention is the best cure. Make sure there are no sharp rocks and wear protective shoes to avoid getting stepped on; be careful walking along the sand to avoid stepping on one of these creatures.
I learned this fact the hard way during a night swim at Hayle in Cornwall years ago. When I felt a sharp jab in my ankle, I reached for it and yanked my hand back: my foot was on fire! I'd been stung by a weaver fish. The venom gets injected into your bloodstream and causes an immediate burn sensation. It takes around 20 minutes to calm down. If you find yourself caught in one of these powerful phenomenon, as Dr.