Andre Slade

Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.

Posts by Andre Slade

A Guide To Family Beach Safety

A mother at the beach holding her daughter towards the camera.Beach days can be a hectic time for families.

Children love the beach, it’s the greatest playground on earth! But as a parent it can be a daunting experience, because while it’s loads of fun, it’s also busy with no boundaries and packed with potential dangers.

Family Beach Safety Guide

Plan your family day at the beach using this handy family beach safety guide:

  • Keep an eye on the weather so you know what to expect.
  • Visit beachsafe.org.au and check the beach you’re going to will be patrolled by lifeguards and read any warnings issued.
  • Pack water and small snacks to keep hydrated and energised. Smaller snacks = less time waiting for
    food to digest before swimming.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen, a t-shirt and a hat. For super sun protection take a large umbrella or beach tent.
  • Learn the OceanFit Ocean Responsibility Code and use it to teach your kids how to have fun and stay safe at the beach.
  • Get to the beach early to avoid the crowds and miss the heat of the day.
  • Head straight for the red and yellow flags and stay there while swimming. They’re also great for creating boundaries for children when out of the water.
  • Always keep within sight and arms reach of your children. Leave the newspaper or book at home – you’re on kid watch!
  • Do a beach sweep before you leave for equipment, rubbish and the kids!
  • Take ice-cream money because there’s no better way to end a day at the beach.

Beach Checklist

Here’s a handy checklist of things you might need for a fun and safe day at the beach:

[checklist id=”checklist_21″ icon=”icon-check” type=”default”]

  • Swimsuit & towel
  • Thongs or sand shoes
  • Warm clothes for after swimming
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses & wide brimmed hat
  • Drink bottle and small snacks
  • Beach toys: frisbee, ball, bucket and spade
  • Body boards & surfboards with safety leashes & fins
  • Goggles and swim cap
  • Snorkel, mask and flippers
  • Beach cricket set or a bat and ball
  • Large beach blanket
  • Picnic lunch and plastic bag for rubbish
  • Beach chairs
  • Sun umbrella or sun shelter
  • Plastic bucket for wet clothes & towels in car
  • Money for ice-creams and other beach treats
  • Camera
  • Learn The OceanFit Ocean Responsibility Code
  • Sunsmart time of day: before 11am & after 4pm
  • Checked beachsafe.org.au for a patrolled beach

[/checklist]

5 Tips To Avoid Drowning At The Beach

The beach is Australia’s favourite playground and we flock there by the millions every summer.

Learning to swim to survive is the most important thing you can do to stay safe in any aquatic environment – and is the #1 most important thing to learn before you get to the beach.

But, whether you’re a hardcore ocean swimmer or a graceful toe-dipper, the beach can be an unforgiving and dangerous place once you’re there.

While fun is usually at the top of our minds on beach days, so to should be your safety. Don’t get caught out this summer by taking un-necessary risks when you visit the beach.

OceanFit’s new Ocean Responsibility Code has been designed to educate you to make ocean safety your responsibility.

Keep to The Code to have fun and stay safe at the beach this summer.

OceanFit’s top 5 ocean safety tips from The Code:

1. Respect the ocean

The ocean environment is powerful, unpredictable and home to hidden dangers.

This might not be a practical tip, but it is #1 for a good reason. If you don’t respect the ocean then you will be caught out. Top watermen respect the ocean because they know of its immense power and unforgiving nature – you should respect it too.

2. Swim at patrolled beaches

Swim between the red and yellow flags on beaches patrolled by lifeguards.

This should be a no-brainer.  When you swim at a patrolled beach you have the added comfort and protection of knowing trained lifeguards are keeping watch. The flags are the safest area to swim, but if you’re on a surfboard you’ll need to keep out – in this instance just keep close.

Statistically the majority of drowning deaths occur on unpatrolled beaches during unpatrolled times.

3. If in doubt, stay out

It’s safer to stay out of the water if you’re unsure of the conditions or your ability.

When you respect the ocean this tip shouldn’t be a problem. You can avoid getting into trouble in the water by simply staying out when it’s beyond your ability, confidence or fitness levels.

If you decide to stay out, make the most of your trip to the beach by catching some rays, enjoying a coffee with a view or doing a bit of soft sand running.

4. Watch out for each other

Swim with a buddy and keep within sight and arms reach of children at all times.

No matter what your ability level always swim with a buddy. The ocean is unpredictable so you need to look out for each other. If you’re in a group do a head count when you get in, buddy up and re-count when you leave the water.

When it comes to children there’s no let off, you need to keep 100% visual contact. Hold the hands of babies and toddlers, and keep within arms reach of younger children.

5. Remain calm and raise an arm

If you get into difficulty: remain calm, float to conserve your energy and raise an arm for assistance.

People who panic waste their energy and make stupid decisions that can cost them their lives.

If you find yourself out of your depth you need to remain calm, float with your head above water and think about your options. On patrolled beaches you can raise your arm for the assistance of a lifeguard. On unpatrolled beaches continue to float, get the attention of surfers and other beach users and wait for them to organise a rescue.

Increase Your Ocean Awareness And Overcome Your Fear Of The Ocean

The ocean can be a scary place and it’s quite common for people to have a fear of it.

For those sufferers, it can mean an unhappy summer on the sand.

So how can you overcome your fear of the ocean?

Ocean anxiety is fairly common with OceanFit participants in our ocean confidence courses.

People really want to enjoy the beach more but they just can’t seem to shake their fears.