3 Tips for Staying Safe on Gold Coast Beaches
The Gold Coast is the number one holiday destination in Australia, and one of the main reasons for this is the attractive golden beaches and the surf. It’s a great idea to take the family or some friends down to the beach for a few hours, but there are some things that you may want to consider before you go jumping in the waves. Here are three general tips that will help you have a safe and memorable trip.
1. Have the right gear
It’s been drilled into us for years to be sun smart when going outside for long periods of time, but unfortunately this message still isn’t getting through. Sun safety is no laughing matter, and can lead to severe sunstroke and possibly skin cancer if you don’t take it seriously. Wearing a full brimmed hat and applying sunscreen that has an SPF rating of at least 30 are two basics to start with. You need to apply the sunscreen to all parts of the body that are exposed, so it may pay to have someone help you put it on. Often considered a fashion accessory, good sunglasses are important, will save your eyes, and stop you squinting all day while you are at the beach.
Its also important to wear footwear when you are walking along the beach. Sandals are good, as long as you have something to protect your feet. The Gold Coast beaches are so busy with tourists, and they can also be quite busy at night, so broken glass and sharp objects are a possibility.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water at the beach as well. Dehydration can take a huge toll on you, and if you are active, it’s more of a reason to replace the fluids that your body is sweating out.
2. Be careful of the wildlife
The beach, and especially the ocean, are the natural habitat of many different species, and it’s important that you respect them. Creatures like crabs may be on the ocean floor or under some rocks, so be careful as they could nip you.
You are likely to also encounter the blue jellyfish, which aren’t particularly harmful but sting easily, so you could get hurt. The Gold Coast in particular is very common for having these jellyfish. If you do encounter one, don’t stress, just calmly move away.
Other wildlife to be on the look out for is sharks. Although it’s very rare for sharks to enter the area in which you may be swimming, you must be aware that it is a possibility, however small it may be. They are out there, and have been seen to come into the beaches. But don’t worry, as there is plenty of work being done to keep the Gold Coast free of them.
3. Respect the ocean
The ocean is often not given the respect it deserves. It’s a very dangerous place, especially if you are not a confident swimmer. In fact, 291 people drowned between mid 2012 and mid 2013 in Australia, and it wasn’t just children. In fact, nearly 40% were 55 years or over. But don’t let this scare you, as millions of people use the beaches in this period. The number is small but not insignificant, so you must understand the dangers.
The lifeguards that operate on the Gold Coast are some of the best. You need to remember to swim between the flags that they have put out, and listen to any instructions they may give. Red and yellow flags indicate that all is safe and just yellow indicates caution. If you are caught in a rip, don’t struggle. Swim diagonally across it and raise one hand up so the life guards can come and help. If you are near someone, give them a yell and they may help you first. This goes for any trouble you may get into – the lifeguards will see this signal and immediately recognise that you’re in trouble and come to help. Another safety tip is to never swim alone, and keep an eye on each other, making sure that you’re all enjoying the ocean.
The beach is a fun place to go with family and friends, and these simple tips aim to keep it that way. The ocean is dangerous, but sticking to simple rules like swimming between the flags, wearing sunblock, and hydrating yourself, will keep you happy and safe.