Remember the safety code on our New Forest beaches
Stay safe on the beach this summer
We are extremely lucky in Lymington to be situated so close to some lovely beaches, including Milford-on-Sea, Lepe, Highcliffe, Highcliffe Castle... and even more fortunate that the water quality at these beaches has been rated as excellent.
Whether you prefer pebbles or sand, we have it covered! Many have cafés where you can enjoy an icecream or cup of tea and of course the coast path gives ample opportunity for walks with picturesque views.
Days on the beach evoke idylic memories of childhood fun, but it is so important to stay safe on the beach. Our fantastic Lymington RNLI team have provided us with some important tips on on how to ensure you and your families stay safe...
- Wherever possible, always swim at a lifeguarded beach. The Good Beach Guide can help you search for recommended beaches in the UK and ROI. The RNLI Beachfinder app will help you to search for beaches with lifeguards
- Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the entrance to the beach - these will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
- When on a lifeguarded beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags - this area is patrolled by lifeguards
- Never swim alone
- If you get into trouble stick your hand in the air and shout for help
- If you see someone in difficulty, never attempt a rescue. Tell a lifeguard, or, if you cannot see a lifeguard call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard
- Children are safest when supervised. As soon as you get to the beach arrange a meeting place in case of separation (e.g. dedicated lost child post, lifeguard station, beach shop...)
- If the beach operator is running a kids' safety scheme - handing out wristbands, tickets etc - be sure to take part. It's free and they work!
- If you are on an RNLI lifeguarded beach, visit the lifeguard hut on arrival - they can give you special wristbands on which you can put your contact details
- If your child does go missing: calmly check your surroundings first, ensuring other children remain monitored. Contact the lifeguard or police and keep all informed. Let all searchers know once the child is found.
- Inflatable toys and airbeds are designed for pools not the sea where they can be easily swept out. If you must use them at the beach then: ensure children are closely supervised, keep nearby, only use between the red and yellow flags, follow the lifeguard's advice, never take out in big waves, never use when the orange windsock is flying as this indicates offshore winds
- Bodyboarding is fun for all the family, but every year lifeguards rescue thousands of people who get caught out. The most important advice is to always stay with your board as it will keep you above the water, even if you feel you are drifting out to sea. Your board will keep you afloat and make you much easier to spot if our lifeguards need to rescue you
- Never go in the sea if the red flags are flying as it is too dangerous
SAFE: The coastguard has a good nmemonic for beach safety
S pot the dangers
A lways go with a friend
F ind and read emergency signs and flags
E mergency! Stick your hand up and shout, tell a lifeguard or dial 999 for the coastguard
FLAGS: The RNLI use the following
F ind the red and yellow flags and swim between them
L ook at the safety signs
A sk a lifeguard for advice
G et a friend to swim with you
S tick your hand up and shout for help if in difficulty
Bites and stings in the water
There have been a number of jellyfish spotted on beaches along the Solent, including beaches close to Lymington. According to Steve Backshall, TV presenter and naturalist, we do not need to worry. "When you see the creepy photos of vast swarms of jellies stranded on beaches like an alien invasion, these are like dense but finite aggregations and 100 metres down the beach may be completely clear."
Weaverfish: place the affected area in water as hot as is comfortable. Test the water first so as not to scald the victim.
Jellyfish: DO NOT RUB as this will cause the pain to intensify. Lightly spray the area with sea water and apply a cold compress or ice if available. If severe or life-threatening symptoms are present, seek medical help immediately.
Extracts from the RNLI Guide to Sea and Beach Safety
For more information see www.rnli.org.uk. The RNLI in Lymington is based in Bath Road carpark, opposite Lymington Town Sailing Club. You can visit the Lymington RNLI shop and find out more information about RNLI station visits. Follow Lymington RNLI on Twitter.