Lifeguard Service Division urges caution at beaches

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    Beachgoers are being urged to exercise extreme caution in the wake of unusually large waves and strong rip currents.

    The Lifeguard Service Division says these conditions are known to cause serious injuries and in the worst case scenario, may even lead to loss of life.

    This warning comes in the wake of the MET Service’s Hazardous Seas Alert, which is active until 2pm on Saturday.

    It has issued the following tips:

    •  If sea conditions look dangerous to you, one should avoid entering the water;
    • Avoid going to lonely and small beaches where you can be trapped or blocked from the exit route. At times the tide rises quickly, bringing with it powerful and forceful waves;
    • Parents should be within arm’s reach of children at all times. When powerful waves wash to the shore children are pushed into rocks, logs or other objects on the beach and the backwash from the receding waves can sweep them out into deeper waters;
    • Bathers should never over-estimate their swimming ability and attempt to go towards these large waves;
    • Visit the beaches patrolled by Lifeguards and for your safety listen and adhere to the advice of the Lifeguards at all times;
    • Lifeguards patrol the beaches from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm on a daily basis. Bathe during these hours for your safety and pay close attention to the colour coded flags and other warnings issued from the Lifeguards on duty;
    • Fishing from rocks or small jetties is dangerous and should be avoided as the new moon and the current spring tide could cause even larger waves;
    • Large waves may also bring logs or other objects in the surf that could strike unsuspecting bathers endangering their lives;
    • Avoid consuming alcohol while at the beach and while swimming. The consumption of alcohol causes balance, coordination and judgement to be impaired;
    • Small marine crafts should listen to all safety advisory before going out to sea and ensure all safety gear and life jackets are worn by users of the vessels;
    • If caught in a rip current DO NOT PANIC. Swim parallel to the shore and when you are out of the force of the current then swim towards the shore. If you are unable to swim: try to float on your back and wave your hand to attract attention.

    It also warns that after the MET Service’s alert is lifted, persons should still be vigilant, since rip currents can remain very strong for a period of time.