A Beach Users Guide
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To help you make the most of a trip to the beach and to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe day out, we have put together a simple check-list of items to take and things to do :
Directions – It sounds obvious, but make sure you know where you're heading and how you're going to get there, remember, you won't be the only ones heading in that direction ! You can get route maps from Google if you're driving and details of buses and railways from Wilts & Dorset Buses and Network Rail
Change for car park – not cheap so bring plenty !
Bring Sunscreen with adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Ideally sunscreen should be applied about a half hour before sun exposure, you'll need to re-apply more when you arrive. Studies show that most people apply far too little sunscreen, and the SPF of any product is reduced when it's applied too thinly. You'll need to reapply sunscreen after swimming, towelling down or if you perspire a great deal.
A watch of some type to recognize how long you've been in the sun. You also need to know when it's time to avoid sun exposure – from 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun's rays are most intense.
A hat with a wide brim. This is even more effective than sunscreen in shielding the sensitive skin on the face and scalp from damaging UV radiation.
Sunglasses to protect your eyes. Be sure that your sunglasses offer protection from at least 90% of UV radiation, preferably 99 to 100%. This information should be contained on the label when the sunglasses are purchased.
Some kind of physical shelter from the sun. Bring an umbrella, beach shelter, or protective clothing in case you decide you've been in the sun too long or if you want to spend part of the day in the shade.
Plenty of water to fight off dehydration. If it's terribly hot, you'll also run the risk of heat exhaustion. Drink plenty of fluids to stay cool and well-hydrated. Water or sports drinks are best; caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can actually worsen the effects of the heat. Don't worry about drinking too much, there are toilets on the beach !
Snacks . If you've got perishable items, don't forget a cooler with plenty of ice to prevent food poisoning.
Food Outlets – If you want to buy some food on the beach there are plenty of places to choose from, offering the usual chips, hot dogs etc as well as cold and hot drinks.
Sandals or water shoes . Many coastal areas have rocky shores that may result in cuts to unprotected feet. Most of our beaches have fine sand which isn't a problem, but watch out for sea shells or the evil weever fish ! Likewise, walking on hot sand or tarmac can burn the sensitive skin on the soles of the foot.
Dogs – Most beaches in and around Poole do not allow dogs during the summer months. At Sandbanks there is a designated area where you can take your dog, but this is away from the main beach. In short, during the Summer, it is not recommended that you take your dog to the beach for the day. Remember that in hot weather beaches may not be the ideal place to take your dog. Due to the lack of shade or inadequate fresh water, your dog may suffer from heat related problems.
Swimming – If you like to enjoy a swim in the sea, think safety first. We recommend swimming in designated swimming areas only, ideally with supervision by a lifeguard. Check the surf conditions before entering the water and look out for any warning signs or flags indicating hazardous conditions. You should always swim with someone else, and don't exhaust yourself - remember that you'll need energy to swim back to shore. Keep away from the rock groynes as there are rocks you can hurt yourself on beneath the water !.
- When you're at the beach:
- Always tie inflatables to the shore and make sure children are in easy reach at all times – lilos, rubber rings and inflatable boats can easily drift miles out to sea with just a light breeze.
- Always swim close to the beach in line with the shore.
- Don't drink and drown - eating and drinking before swimming may give you cramps while you're in the water – you may then be unable to get back to the shore.
- Check the beach when you arrive and beware of rocks and breakwaters.
- Look out for warning signs and flags – red flag means it's dangerous to swim, a red and yellow flag means lifeguards are on patrol and you should swim in the area between flags, a black and white flag means it's an area used by water craft such as canoes, windsurfers etc and is not suitable for swimming.
- Avoid rip tides and strong under surface currents which can carry you out to sea – do not swim near the Sandbanks Ferry, which is at the entrance to Poole Harbour, this is a highly dangerous area.