Many of us are taking vacation by the sea. For those of us who don’t live nearby and visit the seashore on occasions or for the first time, tidal changes, waves, currents and water depth can all represent serious challenges.

When you access the water on a rocky beach, always check first if it is easy to return from the water. If cliffs have one way down, makes sure you can come back on it. Jumping in from rocks is easy but climbing back on them, especially if they have sharp surface and shells attached to them can be a difficult task.

Tides can change access to the shore. Some rocky shores’ water level can change even several meters. Don’t run the risk of being cut off. Check the tide or obtain information on it before you enter the water. Colour changes on rocks can indicate the height of tides.

Stay within your depth when you do any activity in the water. Many people feel bad and can panic when realizing that water is too deep. Don’t panic! Don’t fight the water but fight your instincts! You won’t sink; the human body has the natural ability to float. The only necessary condition is that your lungs are filled with air. So as long as you take regular breaths, you won’t drown. Conserve energy either by floating on the water on your back or treading the water by moving the arms sideways (never up and down) and/or rotate the legs in different direction, or just do flutter kicks or frog kicks. If you chose floating, do it on your back, with your body parallel to the seafloor. Your ears should be in the water, which is uncomfortable but helps you maintain a horizontal position and keeps your neck comfortable. This way you won’t get tired.

Waves can be dangerous for the unexperienced ones. When you enter a large wave near the shore, it can grab you with such a force underwater that as you swirl as a ragdoll you lose your sense of direction (up or down), your nose and ears can go full of water and your body can hit the seafloor. Try to aim for the surface and face the next wave by cutting through under it. Once out, turn and swim to the shore in the trough between waves.

Rip current is a narrow, fast-moving channel of water that starts near the beach and extends offshore through the line of breaking waves. When strong currents or rip currents force you away from the shore, do the following: 1) Relax, stay calm, don’t fight it, you might get quickly exhausted trying to swim against the rip current and you lose; 2) Call and wave for help; 3) You want to swim out of the rip, parallel to shore, along the beach and then follow breaking waves back to shore at an angle; 4) Remember the human body has the natural ability to float, so when you get tired, float.

It is easy to underestimate the powers and dangers of the sea, so be always very careful.

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