The UNSW is currently conducting a study on people’s perceptions of sharks.
Amongst a range of user groups, they’re keen to understand more about ocean swimmers and our attitudes towards sharks – after all, we do spend a lot of time swimming in the open water!
Earlier this month OceanFit was contacted by Hamro Institute of Business Technology (HIBT) who have students that come to Australia from (mainly) Nepal to study.
Nepal is a landlocked country where most people grow up without learning how to swim or how to identify dangers associated with bodies of water.
Tragically, within the last few months, six Nepalese students have drowned in Australia, and this prompted HIBT to take action and introduce a program for their students to teach them about how to stay safe when visiting the many open water location in Australia, including beaches, rivers, lakes, lagoons.
On Wednesday 22 February OceanFit welcomed 40 students to Bondi Beach for a tailored water safety education session.
Every time I give one of my community talks I always get asked the same question “Do sand bars collapse?” and I always give the same answer “No, sand bars do not collapse unless you blow them up with explosives”.
Sand bars are big piles of sand that are pretty solid and heavy. Sure, they shift around from time to time, but this takes days, weeks and even months. They never, ever, ever implode on themselves. It just doesn’t happen.
But you still hear stories of collapsing sand bars getting people into all sorts of strife. So where did this myth come from? Well, if it’s wacky and related to the beach, it must come from… Bondi.
As a kid growing up in the Great White North (Canada), I learned everything about the ocean from my parents during our annual vacation to Cape Cod on the east coast of the US.
They would tell me about collapsing sand bars and the undertow that would suck me under and a whole bunch of other things that were totally incorrect, but the thing that intrigued me the most was that apparently ‘every seventh wave was a big wave’.
I used to test the ‘every seventh wave the biggest wave’ theory by counting waves while lying on my lilo and just as I was beginning to realize I’d been duped again in another Santa Claus-like scam, a bunch of big waves would appear out of nowhere and completely swamp me.
So the idea that every 7th wave is a big wave isn’t true, but like many old sayings, there is definitely an element of truth to it and that element is called a wave set.
Surf safety messages can get so complicated. There are so many rules, so many variations.
How could you possibly remember all these rules, and if you did, would you remember them and be able to act accordingly in the heat of the moment, when your life is at risk?
What if I said you only need to know one fundamental ‘rule’ when you go to the beach?
It’s the middle of summer, it’s stinking hot, so you head to the beach for a swim, jump in and the water is….freezing. Yet the week before it was magic, so what’s going on? Quite a lot as it turns out.