The Maritime Regulations
Open water adventure is an adrenaline rush that is stimulating and enjoyable. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a nervous beginning surfer, the regulations of the water must always be followed. Even with lifeguards on duty, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. While the ocean is gorgeous, peaceful, and wild, it is also huge, unknown, and occasionally dangerous. The sea merits respect for being home to wonderful marine life, providing us with oxygen, and providing us with so many chances for outdoor recreation. Those salty, often crystal clear waters are alluring, but they also bring with them rip currents, shore breaks, and tidal floods. Know what to watch for and how to react to stay safe and enjoy the adventure to the fullest.
Swimming with caution
Whether you’re going to the beach for the day or want to take up swimming as a pastime, know the basic safety regulations. Always swim at a lifeguarded beach, and always swim with a friend. Look at where the majority of swimmers are and try to swim there as well. Remember that open water swimming is almost never free of current. Before you go in, check the weather forecast and tidal schedule, and keep in mind that rip currents, tides, and waves will all pull you in various ways. Know that when swimmers confront rip currents, they frequently drown due to weariness and terror. Swimming between flags reduces your chances of getting caught, but if you do, the best thing you can do is float parallel to the shoreline until you exit the current, signal for help with your hand and voice, and remember that rip currents do not pull you under the water, but rather further out in the sea. You will eventually be able to swim out of one.
Make sure you can swim well before getting on a surfboard. As previously stated, you should always check the weather prediction and tidal schedule and only surf with a friend. Before entering, thoroughly inspect your equipment. Check that your leash is in good shape, that your surfboard is brightly coloured, and that your surfboard fins are not sharply edged. In the event of a wipeout, your initial reaction should always be to cover your head with your arms and avoid going headfirst into the water. Keep your surfboard by your side to avoid being smacked in the face by oncoming waves and to avoid injuring someone else. Keep in mind that water reflects sunlight, making it easy to develop sunstroke and sunburn while surfing. Invest in a high-quality rash vest, a high-SPF sunscreen, and face sunscreen.
Kayaking in safety
Kayaking on open water necessitates the use of a kayak-friendly life jacket. A life jacket, which is both comfortable and unrestrictive, will keep you afloat if you capsize. Remember to always paddle in conditions that are appropriate for your kayaking abilities. Look for areas with safe departure and entry points and that are protected from the wind and waves. Check that your kayak is watertight and clear of holes before entering the water, and that you have both a buoyancy aid and a helmet. Carry a cell phone in a waterproof pouch in case you need to make an emergency call, as well as a basic repair kit. Wear a drysuit or a wetsuit depending on the conditions, and observe all of the above regulations regarding rip currents, weather forecasts, and tide timings to avoid hypothermia. You should also be mindful of the hazards of low-hanging objects like submerged trees, and you should have undergone a safety course on how to exit an overturned kayak.
Coastal waters might be dangerous for a variety of reasons, but if you enrol in safety classes before heading out, wear appropriate clothes and sunscreen, and follow the rules of the sea, there’s no reason why those vivid blue seas shouldn’t be gratifying and exhilarating.