Saturday 29 February, 2020

Lifeguards warn beachgoers in light of hazardous seas alert

The Lifeguard Service Division of the Ministry of National Security is warning the public and beachgoers, in particular, to be extremely cautious because of the unusually large waves and strong rip currents that are currently affecting beaches.

According to a media release on Tuesday, the Lifeguard Division said the conditions are known to cause serious injuries and in the worst-case scenario, may even lead to loss of life.

This warning comes in light of the Hazardous Seas Alert issued by the Meteorological Office which states that rough sea conditions have started to severely affect the nation’s coastlines.

The public should, therefore, take note of the following:

1. If sea conditions look dangerous, avoid entering the water;

2. 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;

3. 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 and the backwash from the receding waves can sweep them out into deeper waters;

4. Bathers should never overestimate their swimming ability and attempt to go towards these large waves;

5. Visit the beaches patrolled by Lifeguards and for your safety listen and adhere to the advice of the Lifeguards at all times;

6. Lifeguards patrol the beaches from 10 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;

7. 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;

8. Large waves may also bring logs or other objects in the surf that could strike unsuspecting bathers endangering their lives;

9. Avoid consuming alcohol while at the beach and while swimming. The consumption of alcohol causes balance, coordination and judgement to be impaired;

10. Small marine crafts should listen to all safety advisories before going out to sea and ensure all safety gear and life jackets are worn by users of the vessels;

11. 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.

These conditions are expected to last for approximately one week and even after rough seas have calmed down, the rip currents usually remain very strong for a period of time.

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