LAST summer a survey was carried out on the Cork beaches which are patrolled by beach lifeguards. The survey found that only 30% of the public spoken to understood the meaning of the water safety flags on our beaches.
However, it is important to obey the flags on beaches as they are there for your own safety. Never swim outside the red/yellow flags as this area Is not patrolled. On a beach patrolled by lifeguards you will notice that there is an area marked by two red/yellow flags and this is the area patrolled by the lifeguards. Swim between the flags and parallel to the shore. Ask for advice if there is a red flag flying. If there is no flag flying there is no lifeguard on duty.
Lifeguards also deal with a variety of other issues that arise during a working day, which is 10am to 7pm. A common injury that they deal with is weever fish stings.
If you are swimming or paddling and experience a sharp stinging sensation on your foot, you have more than likely stepped on a weever fish. These are small fish which lie in the waterline and have spines on their dorsal fin. The best treatment for these stings is to immerse the affected part of the body in the hottest water you can bear until the pain is relieved. If this treatment fails, consult a doctor.
Another common first aid situation lifeguards encounter is sun stroke and sun burn. Do not forget to use sun cream during your time at the beach, even on cloudy days, as wind burn is also a factor at the beach.
The beach lifeguards will be able to help you with these first aid situations.
Please remember to ensure that children are supervised at all times while at the beach. Also, please note the policy on inflatable/floating toys is never bring them to the beach; Irish Water Safety refers to them as "floating killers".
Please use these simple tips to ensure a safe trip to the beach!
Cork County Beachguard Service operates weekends in June, full time July and August and for the first three weekends in Sept. The last day is Sunday, September 15.
Please take your litter home with you and if walking your dog on the beach please keep them on a lead and pick up after them.