Safety Tips to Enjoy Summer Holiday!

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Silly season has arrived on the south coast of NSW, with an influx of holiday makers all heading to the beaches for their Christmas and summer holiday, laden down with beach paraphernalia and smiles.

Those smiles for a lot of tourists haven’t lasted long with 20 emergency call outs and over 70 rescues in the first week alone.

On Christmas Eve, a 38 year old man drowned after being caught in a rip at Dolphin point, the following Thursday emergency workers and the Westpac helicopter were called out to a report of a man signaling for help 100 meters from shore in rough conditions. Why he was swimming in rough conditions at the same location of the above drowning? I really don’t know. Luckily, he survived.

And yet another, at a different beach a man holidaying with family was pulled unconscious from the water and resuscitated by volunteer life guards, he is considered lucky to be alive.

It wasn’t as if the various rescues and reports of drowning and near drowning were not reported in the media including local and national newspapers, local and national news and local radio. The already over stretched rescue services continued to be called out to incidents, that at the end of the day could have been prevented indeed they need not have happened in the first place, if people heeded the water safety rules.

The rules are not complicated and are easy to follow:

1. If you can’t swim don’t go in.

2. Swim at patrolled beaches only and between the flags.

3. Do not swim or do any form of water activity in rough conditions

4. When doing any form of boating, kayaking, jet skiing wear the proper safety equipment.

THAT’S AT LEAST A LIFE JACKET!

Yet it continues, two children were rescued yesterday after being dragged out to sea in an inflatable boat, yup you heard me an INFLATABLE BOAT.

There are a lot of beaches along the coast where I live, too many to have patrols on all of them. But the ones that are patrolled are signposted as are the ones that aren’t. There are also warning signs as to rips, dangerous conditions and that sharks live in the area, apparently it’s not enough.

Thought I’d take a walk along the beach yesterday afternoon, I see a mum and dad with a toddler apiece on their shoulders walking along the sandbar with the tide coming in about an inch from the drop off, with waves crashing up to their knees. Come on honestly, one powerfully suckie wave and they’d have all been destined for Davey Jones locker. The sandbar has water both sides just to clarify.

But that wasn’t enough of a threat the mum took the toddler off her shoulders and dangled her over the edge swishing her through the waves. I wasn’t quite sure what she was trying to do, there are much better ways of shark fishing if that was the idea.

While we’re on the subject of shark fishing, those that were surfing last Monday at 5am, did you not notice the meter fin sticking out of the water about 100 meters from you? That was no dolphin folks.

Which brings me to another rule DO NOT GO IN THE WATER AT DAWN OR DUSK that’s breakie and lunch time for shark’s people! And if they do fancy a munch that’s not their fault but yours.

Apologies if I sound cynical or a holiday grump. I’m not really I love seeing families enjoying their beach holiday. I just don’t like the sound of sirens and unnecessary deaths.

Fiona Hammond is a journalist who graduated from the John Morris journalism academy. Fiona lives on the south coast of NSW Australia and writes human interest stories and opinions, about gardening, sustainability, fishing, the environment and our planet.