The tragic deaths at Camber Sands have caused an outcry due to the fact that there were not any lifeguards on patrol to rescue the people who died due to drowning last month. Cuts in funding are being blamed for the lack of lifeguards and whilst I wouldn’t disagree that lifeguards aren’t necessary; I do think that the general public on the whole do rely on the State to molly coddle them, when they are more than capable of standing on their own two feet. One mother interviewed on national radio, said that she wasn’t going to let her children swim at Camber Sands due to incidents had happened and because there were no life guards on duty. Instead she should have let her children play in the water, but taken the necessary precautions to make sure they stay safe.
Before going to any beach, people should take the time to Google what the potential hazards are, how to avoid them and what to do if they are unfortunate to get into trouble. For example, do you know what a rip current is, how to spot one and what to do if you get caught in one? Or quick sand? People complain about too much signage and that it puts them off, but the signage is there for a reason, it’s there to give vital information that could potentially save your life.
Take into consideration your swimming capabilities, ask yourself honestly, are you a competent swimmer? Being a competent swimmer doesn’t mean twenty five metres doggy paddle to pass the National Curriculum at school, it means swimming without rest for five minutes plus and then knowing what to do if you get tired. Many people only swim whilst on their summer holidays, so might be remembering past swimming experiences through rose tinted glasses,
consider signing up for a few swimming lessons during the winter months to brush up on your water safety skills etc. Unfortunately, the criteria for school swimming lessons are completely inadequate and it is becoming increasingly left to the parents to provide these as a hobby. If you are on low income, there is funding out there to help with these, or instead it might be possible to pay weekly rather than monthly or termly. Compared to the likes of horse riding or piano lessons, learning to swim is relatively a cheap hobby and lessons are widely available.
Following the above guidelines (and the link information), will never get rid of the need for lifeguards, as even competent swimmers get into difficulties, but should reduce your risk of getting into trouble or drowning. Living life is a risk, but you should never shy away from an activity otherwise life would be extremely dull.