Top tips to stay safe in the surf in the Hunter

With an influx of beach goers making the most of the region’s stunning coastline it’s a good time to brush up on some basic surf safety tips.

Tourists, including more schoolies in recent years, will boost numbers over the festive season.

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Our beaches may look amazing, but they can be unpredictable and hide some dangers that everybody – locals and visitors – should be aware of.

Always swim between the red and yellow flags

When you see red and yellow flags on a beach, it indicates that there is currently a lifesaving service operating on that beach.

The lifeguards have chosen a section of the beach that is best for swimming and they will closely supervise this area. Lifeguards pay more attention to the area between the red and yellow flags than any other part of the beach.

Read safety signs

Before you go on to the beach be sure to read the safety signs. This will ensure you are aware of any warnings or dangers on the beach.

You can also find other helpful information to make your day at the beach more enjoyable. You might also find single signs placed on the beach to highlight specific warnings.

Ask a lifeguard for safety advice 

Lifeguards are highly trained and very knowledgeable about beach safety and conditions.

When you arrive at the beach look for and identify the lifeguards. Feel free to ask them about the day’s conditions, as well any additional beach safety advice they might have for that specific beach – because every beach is different.

Swim with a friend

Not only is swimming with a friend (or family member) a fun way to enjoy the beach, it is also very sensible.

While you are swimming together you can keep an eye out for each other, and if further assistance is required, one person could call or go for help. If everyone swimming together knows their own limits it is a good idea to share this with those around you so you can all stay within everyone’s comfortable limits.

If you need help, stay calm and attract attention

Even the most careful people can find themselves out of their limits in the water.

If you are not feeling comfortable in the water and you require a lifeguard’s assistance to get back to shore, stay calm, raise your arm in the air and wave it from side to side.

This will attract the attention of a lifeguard who will be able to come to your assistance. You should conserve your energy by floating on your back and staying calm. This will ensure you have the energy to remain afloat until further aid arrives.

Thanks to Surf Life Saving’s Beachsafe website for these tips.

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