A holiday (or a day-trip) at the seaside is a great experience for people of all ages – there’s plenty of sights to see and things to do – and even if you don’t fancy seeing or doing much of anything, there are few better places to sit back and relax.
But the seaside, like any natural wonder, is a place that requires a little bit of respect if we’re going to get the best out of it. This means cleaning up after yourself before you leave, and ensuring that you don’t disturb the environment as you enjoy it.
As well as ensuring that you don’t harm the seaside, it’s also worth ensuring that the seaside does not harm you – or your friends and family. In order to do this, it’s worth taking a look at some of the things we might consider during our visit.
The sea is a beautiful and fun thing. Going for a swim is one of the things that most of us consider obligatory when we arrive at the beach. But it’s worth treating the sea with respect, and knowing your limits. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid swimming too far out from the beach – as changing tides can easily drag you out to sea.
If you’re wearing inflatables, then this danger is all the more acute – as, while your rubber ring might keep you afloat, it’ll also place you at the mercy of the currents. Be sure that you don’t swim alone, and that your children are accompanied whenever they venture beyond paddling range. Ideally, you’ll want a buddy system in place – so that you’re constantly under the watchful eye of a friend.
If you find yourself in trouble, then try to attract the attention of a lifeguard by waving your hands in the air and shouting. These are exactly the sorts of gestures lifeguards are trained to look out for.
Of particular concern to those swimming far from shore are rip currents. These are strong currents that can quickly carry you out to sea. These are usually evidenced by brown, sandy water where the seabed has been disturbed. If you get caught in one, then it’s vital that you don’t panic – swim (or, better yet, wade) parallel to the shore until you’re free of the current. Then swim back. Don’t swim against the current – you will exhaust yourself, and then you’ll really be in trouble.
Waves are also a hazard – when they break with sufficient strength, they can cause serious injury – particularly to small children. If you’re out at sea, then be sure to avoid those large, white-capped waves. Shorebreaks – waves that break directly on the shore rather than out at sea – are a danger even to those standing on the beach, so don’t turn your back on them for a moment.
In order to get the safest possible experience at the beach, it’s highly advisable that you swim in areas patrolled by lifeguards. Lifeguards will be able to offer their assistance if you run into trouble in the water, and without them you’ll be on your own. You can tell which beaches are lifeguard-patrolled by checking online, or by looking for red-and-yellow flags on the beach. Only swim between these flags, and look out for the others you might encounter on the beach:
With all of these dangers to consider, many might wonder why we bother to go swimming in the sea in the first place. But by far the greatest danger to those swimming in the sea is a lack of skill – and so it’s vital that you and your children get some experience swimming in the sea where possible. With some basic caution, there’s no reason that you can’t enjoy the experience.
When we visit the seaside, it’s normally during summer. We also tend to wear far fewer clothes during our stay. These two factors combined are a recipe for sunburn. In order to protect yourself, you’ll need to wear sunblock of a sufficient factor. Small children are at greater risk from excess sunlight than adults, and so their protection should be considered a priority.
Be sure to reapply your sunblock every few hours in order to ensure that you’re protected. If you’ve been swimming, then reapply as soon as you’ve dried yourself.
All of this heat can cause the human body to quickly lose water in the form of sweat. Consequently, you’ll need to drink plenty of fluid in order to stay hydrated while on the beach. Avoid alcoholic drinks, as these will just make the problem even worse.
The beach is home to an enormous variety of wildlife. Many of the creatures you’ll find there are utterly harmless – but some can inflict nasty stings and bites. Of these, perhaps the most famous are jellyfish. These floating creatures have tentacles which can sting – so be sure to steer clear of them. Jellyfish stings should be treated with seawater – but don’t rub the sting, or you’ll likely make the pain even worse.
Jellyfish are not the only stinging animal you’ll find at the beach. Small, stinging insects also make their home near the water, as do weaver fish, whose poisonous spines can be very painful. Animals with claws, like crabs and lobsters, will defend themselves if trodden on – but for the most part they’re shyer, and pose less of a threat.
If a person has an allergy to stings, then the consequences can be even more severe. If you’ve identified such an allergy, then be sure to take precautionary measures – and be sure that you know exactly how to treat the affected area before you travel to the beach.