Everyone dreams of travelling down under to soak up the sun and surf, but the beaches are some of the most dangerous in the world and outside of the cities they are really remote.
Whilst beautiful the beaches in Australia are notorious for their strong currents, big surf and potentially deadly marine life.
Every year travelers run into trouble at Australian beaches by not knowing what to do.
Below are the 5 key things you need to know to keep safe at Australian beaches:
Pay attention to the signs
They are there for a reason. If there are surf life saving flags placed on beaches, make sure you swim between the flags for your own safety. If a sign says the beach is closed then don’t swim there, again there will be a good reason. If you are travelling in the north of Australia and there are signs saying don’t swim at beaches or waterholes it is most likely because a big salt water crocodiles like to swim there too.
Rips and Tides
Some of the beaches in Australia have really strong tides and currents running through them. When these currents meet they can turn into what is called a ‘rip’. If you get caught in one it can run you out to sea. A rip can be recognized by a change in the surface of the water compared to the water around it. The water might look rippled or like there is sand on the surface. If you ever get stuck in a strong current or rip the most important thing is to stay calm and do not try to fight it or swim against it. If you can try to swim parallel to the beach you can sometimes get out of it. Otherwise raise one of your hands to hail help from the shore and try to stay calm and afloat.
Everyone’s heard of the hole in the ozone layer. Well its located right above Australia and this means that the suns rays are extra strong. The Australian slogan of ‘slip, slop, slap’ is designed to minimize damage to your skin from the suns harmful rays. Make sure you slip on a long sleeved shirt, slop on a good sunscreen and slap on a hat. Avoid swimming or sunbathing during the middle of the day as it is the hottest and drink plenty of water to stay dehydrated.
The Marine Life
Everyone has heard of shark attacks and how ‘dangerous’ the marine life in Australia is. Well the good news is that shark attacks are rare, and there are ways you can lower the risk. Some beaches have shark nets set up to provide protection to swimmers. Try to avoid swimming at dawn and dusk as these are the times when sharks typically tend to be hunting for food. Your biggest worry is going to be jellyfish who can sting you quite badly. Look out for round, white, see through looking creatures with long tentacles in the water. If stung make sure you leave the water immediately and place ice or anything cold on the sting area and seek first aid attention.
Australians may be beach lovers and known for being laid back but there is a level of conservatism on beaches down under. Unless on one of the few ‘free’ beaches clothing must be worn on all beaches. If you are alone on a beach then feel free to go topless, but on crowded beaches you may be approached and asked to put your bikini top back on, especially if children are present.
Have you had any dangerous experiences at the Australian beaches? Share with us below!