While those who manage our beaches in South Devon take their responsibilities to the public very seriously, here are a few beach safety tips that you should bear in mind to make sure that your friends and family enjoy themselves without being at risk of accident or injury.
Beach Safety Flags
Beach Safety Flags are an important part of any beach. They are there to inform you where and when it’s safe to swim and when to stay out of the water. You can also use them as a meeting point for any kids who become separated from the family group. Beach Safety Flags are colour coded so you can tell at a glance what conditions are like. Red and yellow flags show safe bathing areas, so if you stay between these flags and you should be okay. Red flags warn of dangerous conditions. Don’t try and swim in an area marked by a red flag as it often indicates ‘rip tides’ that you can’t see from the surface. These rip tides are incredibly dangerous, particularly for weak swimmers as they’ll pull you out to sea faster than you realise. Flags with black and white squares tell you that the waters are used by surfers and other craft, so avoid swimming in these waters.
Lifeguards patrol many of South Devon’s beaches during the summer season. Whether you see someone in distress, witness an accident or lose someone from your party, lifeguards are there to maintain beach safety. Never feel embarrassed or unsure about approaching a lifeguard for help.
If you are unfamiliar with a beach and its tides, you can buy a tide timetable from a local Post Office, newsagent or Tourist Information Centre. Tides can be fast moving and it’s easy to find yourself cut off from the main beach if you don’t know the hours of low tide and high tide.
Most kids like splashing about with inflatables. But you’ve got watch out for offshore breezes and strong currents, which can quickly send inflatables out to sea. To make sure your little ones are as safe as possible, it’s best to anchor any inflatables to the beach using a safety line. For maximum safety, this line should be held by an adult at all times.