There have been two call-outs – yesterday and today – for the Coast Guard to rescue swimmers in Myrtleville. We have been contacted and asked to make it very clear that while the emergency services are always available to help, each person must make every effort not to create unnecessary emergencies. The rescuers are also being placed at risk by bad individual decision making.
Every swimmer must swim only within their own abilities. If that is five or ten metres off the beach – that’s still sea swimming. You do not need to go out even to Buoy One or out of your depth. You should not get into the water or swim any distance simply because someone else is already in there or because you are with others who are going in.
Each individual swimmer has to take personal responsibility for their own safety and be aware that your actions can cause yourself and others to be put in danger. If you are in any way unsure of your ability to safely complete a swim – do not attempt the swim. Be honest with yourself. Make decisions that are safe for you and do not feel pressurised just because others are doing any particular swim distance.
SWIM SAFELY – WHICH CAN MEAN “JUST DON’T SWIM”.
The sea was rough last week and we’re heading into Winter, when rough water and waves will be much more common. Swimming in the waves is often touted as great crack – no question.
Getting in and getting out of the waves is not quite so much fun and is potentially dangerous.
We’re very lucky in Myrtleville to have a sandy, safe exit most of the time. There are rocks, and occasionally thick loose seaweed however, and even on sand a wave can hit and flip you very easily. That’s painful – and dangerous. Think before you get in and think very hard about how you’ll get out. It’s too late to do that when you’re in the waves and find the undertow is pulling you out.
Donal Buckley on loneswimmer.com has done a very detailed series on this and I’m going to point everyone there. However, I’m going to copy a couple of his lines below – just as a summary.
- You should not be getting into open water before you know where or if you can safely exit.
- You should not let others decide for you if exit conditions are safe.
- Alternatively you should not get into the water simply because someone else is already in there.
- A corollary of these statements is that you should not be getting in the water in anticipation that a safe exit will somehow present itself once you have entered the water.
Swim safe – which can mean “don’t swim today”. If it looks a bit dodgy to get in, it’ll be a lot worse to get out 🙂