To Australian natives and tourists alike, there’s no better place to spend the summer holidays than in the famed beaches of the Gold Coast. Top swimming spots in this area include Currumbin Beach, Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads, and Palm Beach. You and your family are probably thinking about where to spend your next big holiday together, and one of these gorgeous seaside locations might be the perfect choice.
But before you get too excited, heed our advice: paradise is best enjoyed when you’ve done all the prep work. By this, we mean all the health and safety precautions you should take for a beach trip. Beaches and open water are tricky things to navigate, and a holiday could take a turn for the worse if a family is ill-prepared to face all of the common dangers.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 6 tips that should be of great value to you and your family members. Don’t head out for the beach without reading what we’ve got to say.
- Prep a medicine kit, and learn basic first aid techniques. There’s a chance that you’ll be the first responder if any of your family members becomes ill or wounded. The first thing you should pack for the trip, then, is a well-stocked medicine kit. It should contain bandages, ointments, medication for allergies, and all necessary medical devices (such as a glucometer if one of you has diabetes). It would also be of immense help to brush up on your knowledge of first aid basics, and you have the option of taking a first aid training course in Brisbane or Gold Coast before the trip. That way, you’ll gain confidence in applying techniques like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in case something goes awry.
- Bring sufficient food and water. Being on the beach will be great fun for the first hour, but the staggering heat and crowds are guaranteed to get everyone hungry and thirsty in no time. There’s the additional risk of dealing with long lines at beachside kiosks that sell snacks and bottled water. That said, make sure to pack a picnic basket with food that’s easy to eat on the go, such as sandwiches, crisps, and fruit. It would also be a good idea to bring your own water supply in refillable bottles or in a large thermos. It’s also imperative that everyone stays properly hydrated and takes a swig of water every hour or so.
- Protect everyone from the sun. You shouldn’t underestimate the sheer power of the Australian sun in the summertime. Overexposure of one’s skin to the sun could result in immediate heat stress, as well as increase the risk of contracting skin cancer in the future. Enjoin everyone to apply at least an ounce of sunscreen on their bodies every one or two hours. In addition, dress yourselves up in swimming garments with high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), sunglasses that can block out 99% to 100% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, and wide-brimmed hats. Stay clothed for as long as possible, as this is the most ample protection your skin can have from the sun.
- Orient your family members about the rules on the beach. Get everyone on the lookout for the safety rules governing a particular beach. Tell your kids to learn where the lifeguards are stationed, where the safe-swimming zones are (marked by the red and yellow flags), and where the beach’s “danger zones” are. You yourself should prepare to call the lifeguard if you find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to. You can also enquire after the numbers of the local police, ambulatory services, and the like.
- Remind everyone to be careful in the water. The open sea poses its own set of dangers. These include the powerful “rip tide” waves that can cause swimmers to panic and drown; sudden steep dips in the sand; and of course, the “fishy” stuff like bluebottle or box jellies. Don’t let your children step into the water without an adult to supervise them, and remind them not to dive or step out too quickly, no matter how deep or shallow the water looks from the surface.
- Tell everyone to stay close together. Above all, don’t let anyone in your family—be it the aged or the very young—to stray far from your sight. If we could narrow down the biggest dangers, much of them pertain to anyone being left alone and cut off from emergency support. Be it in treating a nasty sting from a sea creature or in flushing water out of someone’s lungs, quick access to help will matter.
These tips aren’t meant to scare you into thinking about the worst possible situations. They’re meant to guide you into making your seaside holiday the most fun and worry-free it could possibly be. With these at your disposal, you’ll truly be ready for fun in the sun. Good luck, and safe trip!