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How to stay safe at the beach this summer

Looking forward to a beach escape this summer?

Beach holidays are a treasured Aussie tradition and a hallmark of the Australian summer. Make the most of your coast trip by taking a few extra precautions to look after yourself and your loved ones.

Sun protection

Sun exposure can cause skin cancer, sunburn, premature ageing, skin damage, and damage to our eyes.

That’s why it’s absolutely essential to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Seek shade or bring along a beach umbrella or tent, wear a hat and sunglasses, and where possible, dress in clothing that covers up your skin.

Wearing sunscreen is especially important when spending time on the beach — even on overcast days. Choose a formula that’s at least SPF30 and ideally water-resistant. You’ll need about 35mls of sunscreen to adequately cover your whole body, which is about one teaspoon per limb, one teaspoon for your chest and abdomen, one teaspoon for your back, and another teaspoon for your face. Be sure to get someone to help you apply sunscreen on those hard-to-reach areas like your back, or choose a spray formula that will help you reach these areas yourself.

You’ll need to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or towelling off.


Did you know that approximately 40,000 Australians are stung by bluebottles each year? They’re a type of jellyfish that cause extreme pain and skin reactions when they sting.

Look out for bluebottles on the shore — if you spot one, it’s possible that there are more hiding in the shallows.

If you or one of your family members is stung, it’s important to stay calm. Find a beach-side shower (they’re likely to be near a car park or a lifeguard tower) and wash the area with warm water.

Panadol can help relieve the pain until it subsides, but if your symptoms are worse or you’re experiencing swelling, fever, nausea, or pain hours after the sting, you should seek medical attention.

Water safety

Choose beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and be sure to stay in between the red and yellow flags. Make sure that you obey all safety signs as well as any guidance provided by the lifeguards.

Teach your children to raise their arm if they need assistance in the water. This helps the lifeguards to spot them and provide assistance quickly.

Unless you’re a confident swimmer, stick to the shallow water and avoid getting carried too far out by the waves.

Younger children should wear floaties, and children should always be supervised at all times when in the water.


We lose lots of moisture through sweat on hot days and when we’re active. If you’re on the beach and swimming in the ocean, it can be easy to miss the signs of dehydration.

Staying hydrated is especially important when you’re at the beach. Be sure to pack a water bottle filled with cold water, and consider taking a hydration supplement with electrolytes to replenish those lost through sweating.

By planning ahead and being conscious of your safety, you can ensure that you make the most of your visit to the beach and avoid accidents and injury.

You may also be interested in the following:

Can babies wear sunscreen
How to apply sunscreen properly
Kids at the beach and what to look out for

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Acknowledgement of Country

Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.