Find lifeguarded beach and look for the red and yellow flags, this is the safest place to swim and enjoy the sea. Always listen to and take advice from the lifeguards.
The weather maybe sunny and hot, but the water is still cold and when entering water your body can become overcome by a phenomenon called Cold Water Shock. Cold Water Shock can take away your strength to swim and even affects the strongest of swimmers. Effects of cold water shock are –
- A sharp intake of breath which if done under water after a dive can start the drowning chain.
- Rapid uncontrollable breathing.
- Your blood starts moving to your core which leads to high blood pressure and inability to move muscles due to the lack of oxygen being transported to the affected areas.
All the above quickly lead to swim failure and the potential of drowning.
“Cold water shock makes you want to thrash about or swim hard, which is part of the natural fight-or-flight response to threats. You must fight this instinct and stay still with your mouth clear of the water until the cold water shock passes and you can hold your breath again. Most people think they cannot float, but they can, even if it takes a bit of gentle sculling. Clothing helps because it traps air and increases buoyancy. So “fight your instincts” and “float first”, with this advice, you stand a good chance of surviving cold water shock.” – Professor Mike Tipton MBE, SLSGB Trustee
So, when heading to the beach ALWAYS REMEMBER –
1)Look for a lifeguarded beach or use a swimming pool
2) Stop and look at the safety advice or ask the lifeguard
3) On a beach swim between the RED and YELLOW flags
4) If on a boat, then wear a fitted life jacket with crotch straps. Ensure kids are wearing one too!
5) Parents keep an eye on children and stay away from the mobile devices
6) If you are going out onto the water tell a responsible adult of what time you are going and when you are returning
7) Know how to call help – 999 or 112; coastguard, police
8) If you are out walking with dogs then ensure they are close by or better still on a lead near water courses or cliffs
9) If you are out in the sun remember to apply sun cream and keep hydrated
10) Enjoy the water responsibly, keep yourself, family and friends safe!