I’ve talked a lot this week about snakes coming out and snake season in my posts about Keeping Children & Pets Safe and Avoiding Snake Encounters, but that’s because it’s been hot. Actually, it’s been unusually hot for this time of year, I believe some records have been broken for maximum temperatures in a few towns here in Queensland.
But the hot weather isn’t all about snakes, is it? It also means it’s time to reopen the swimming pool and or go to the beach.
Ah, the beach…
My swimming pool reopened on Monday of this week on the very first day of the September school holidays for the kids. Elizabeth and one of her friends had a great time jumping in and out of it virtually all day. It was a scorcher at about 33°C.
The saying here is that the swimming pool season starts with the September school holidays, so our swimming pool season started bang on time. For the record, the swimming season is said to finish on Anzac Day, which is 25 April.
In the almost 6 years that I’ve lived here, I think I’ve only been in my swimming pool, I’m guessing a bit, maybe 10 times or even less? That’s shocking! This year I hope to use it much more; I might even start doing some aqua jogging or some other kind of keep fit exercises in the pool.
No, I can’t wait until new years to make a resolution, half the swimming season will be over.
Going to the beach
Ah the beach, another one, only 11,881 to go…
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a pool though, most Australians live close to a beach somewhere, after all there are nearly 12,000 of them. Actually, to be very precise, there are 11,883 of them.
How do I know that?
I got this information from the beachsafe website; and who are they you may well ask?
Here’s a snippet from their “About” page…
“The BeachSafe website is brought to you by Surf Life Saving Australia as part of our continued commitment to Education and Safety in the aquatic environment.”
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLS)
I can’t speak highly enough of Surf Life Saving Australia, they are a voluntary organisation who survives from donations only and they patrol many of our beaches in Australia and quite simply, they save lives.
Only yesterday I found out that they have now released an app for iPhone and it’s called “beachsafe”. It’s free, and I’ve just downloaded it on my iPhone.
As soon as I opened it up and allowed it to track my location, it popped up with a list of beaches that were either patrolled by SLS or not. It also provided a picture of the beach and if you clicked on it for further information, it would tell you how dangerous, or not, this beach might be.
There is a “Surf Ed” area on this app which is basically education about such things as rip currents, the weather, the right gear to wear, some information about the lifeguards and some of their top tips.
There is far more to this app than I have already mentioned, but there’s no need for me to explain everything, the app is free, just download it and play around for yourself.
You probably don’t need me to explain how to do this, all you need to do is open your iPhone or iPad, go to the iTunes Store and search for ‘beachsafe’.
What I liked the most about this, being as I don’t really live near the beach, is that I now know exactly, to one tenth of a kilometre, how far it is to my nearest beaches. I can even see a thumbnail photo of each beach and find out what kind of facilities they have with the touch of a finger.
If you cannot or do not want to download the app, you can still find out similar information by visiting their website…
Without doubt though, the most important information you need to remember when visiting any Australian beach, especially if you have children with you, is go to a beach that is patrolled by the SLS and then make sure you Swim Between The Flags.
The Australian oceans biggest killer is not a shark, it’s drowning; SLS are there to save you.
It’s a sport
Australians being Australians though, Surf Lifesaving isn’t just people saving lives, it’s also a sport. There is what is called the “ironman” (nothing to do with the cartoon superhero or Robert Downey Jr) race which involves swimming, board paddling, ski paddling and running.
Shockingly, competitors have lost their lives to the sea taking part in this sport or whilst training. Tragically, four teenagers have lost their lives since 1996; I think that just shows the dangers of the sea.
So, and I know I’m repeating myself, it really is important to Swim Between The Flags.
I don’t want to dwell though on the lives lost by these brave young men, they do this to save lives and they save many many lives every year here in Australia.
I salute them.
Every now and then you will go to the bottle shop, or be walking around a shopping mall or you’ll be at some kind of community event, and there will be some people there collecting money for Surf Life Saving Australia. If you are in a position to do so, chuck them five bucks or 10 bucks, whatever.
One day they might save somebody you love.
Anyway, it’s Friday, time for a YouTube. Let’s find out what those Aussies Australian Surf Lifesaving peeps get up to, shall we?