This time of year, Australians are either at the beach or at the ‘Boxing Day sales’. The day after Christmas is a public holiday called Boxing Day, then the shops open again for their Boxing Day sales. The shops are too busy for me so I go to the beach.
This is Stanwell park just south of Sydney. It was about 9am and the life guards were setting up the flags. The water was beautiful and the crowds weren’t as big as at Sydney beaches.
In the above picture you can see an area of water to the left of the person dressed in blue, where there are no waves. This is called a rip. Swimmers caught in a rip get washed out to sea, so they are very dangerous. It is where the water that’s washed into shore makes it’s way back out again. You can see the flags indicating where to swim are far away from the rip.
This is where the swimmers are, the red and yellow flags either side are just out of shot. The waves are breaking here and there is no rip.
Surfers use the rip to get out behind the waves, so they don’t have to paddle as much.
Also, another force in the water that was particularly strong today was the current. It kept washing us down the beach towards the rip. It is really important that you check that you are within the flags at all times and haven’t drifted into a rip. Many people drown this way.
Life guards are at some beaches all year round in Australia and are paid by the local council. Lifesavers are volunteers and are at beaches on weekends and public holidays in Summer and a few weeks either side.
If you are in danger, raise your arm and a lifesaver or life guard will help you.
Other beaches are not patrolled and can be dangerous if you can’t read the surf.
Do you enjoy the beach at Christmas time?