I thought about writing this post yesterday when summer had indeed arrived in East Lothian, as you can see in this lovely photo of the poppies in a field between Pencaitland and Tranent:
Sadly it’s a bit cooler and cloudier today but I’m sure there will be more sunny days before the summer is out. Here in East Lothian we are blessed with many beautiful beaches including the especially popular Gullane Bents, Yellowcraigs, North Berwick and Dunbar’s Belhaven Bay.
The warm sunny weather brings many families to the beaches and the obvious place to cool off is in that lovely, blue water. However, to the unwary, the water can contain hidden dangers and the conditions are constantly changing with the tide and weather. With that in mind, I would like to point you all in the direction of some helpful advice that should help you stay safe while you’re having a break from your speech and language therapy sessions.
Please click here to go to the RNLI’s Respect the Water page where you will find lots of helpful advice that will help you and your family to enjoy a safe trip to the beach. At the very least:
- Try to go to a lifeguarded beach if possible. The red and yellow flags you will see there show the safest area to swim in and that part of the shore will be being patrolled by the lifeguards.
- Remember that swimming in the sea is very different from a pool. The seabed is very uneven and sometimes there are sharp changes in depth.
- The sea around the UK is very cold, even at the height of summer. Take time to get used to the temperature as you go in and if you have a wetsuit, wear it. The Respect the Water website has some great advice about what to do if you fall into very cold water suddenly.
- Make sure someone on the beach is keeping an eye open for you and can call for help if necessary.
- Understand what a rip current is and what to do if you find yourself in one. Click here to watch Gwithian Academy of Surfing’s excellent video explaining rip currents. Basically a rip is a current that forms where the water coming into the beach in the waves flows back out to sea. They pull out to sea and may stay in one place like when they form around rocks or they can move around the beach as the tide changes. If you find yourself in a rip, swim at right angles to it (usually parallel to the beach) until you are free from its pull then either try to get attention and/or swim back into the beach. NEVER try to swim directly against a rip current, you will exhaust yourself and then you will be in a lot of trouble.
If you see someone in trouble in the water, your first action should always be to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. The Coastguard will then come to your assistance and will alert the RNLI lifeboat teams if necessary. If you can, avoid going into the water yourself as many people drown trying to save others.
Stay safe on the beach this summer and have fun!