May 19

Basic Water Safety Tips for Families Traveling to Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the finest areas of outstanding natural beauty in the UK, from the spectacular waves on the Atlantic Ocean to the fabulous golden beaches and blue seas of secluded coves along the English Channel. It is a popular destination for tourists worldwide. The family-friendly environment in the variety of excellent holiday accommodations with good facilities, the cleanliness of its beaches, and places of interest to visit make Cornwall a much sought-after destination for the family vacation.

Sennen Cove, just north of Lands End, is excellent surf for beginners and has plenty of room for children and adults to enjoy playing in the waves. Fistral Beach in Newquay is known as the surf capital of England, and surfers flock here for competitions. Porthcurno is an idyllic cove for swimmers, but be aware that it decreases in size at high tide.

Under the cliffs at Summerleaze Beach Bude is a 1930s tidal pool, a great water hole for swimmers, with plenty of space for paddling, snorkeling, surfboards, and inflatables. 

But there are dangers to be aware of while having fun in the sea, especially when accompanied by children. Ensuring you're familiar with a range of sun and water safety tips will help make your family holiday safe and free from accidents. Particularly, understanding how to reduce the risks and be safe in and out of the water is the responsibility of everyone, not just the lifeguards.

Practice Water Safety with Children

Educating a child on the potential dangers of going into the sea could save their life. Teaching children to swim at a young age increases their confidence, so joining the family in the ocean is an enjoyable experience on vacation. Ensure they know why it is important not to swim out too far, so you can always see them. Point out the warning flags, showing the designated swimming area, and explain how these sections are usually patrolled by lifeguards with rescue equipment who are there to help in an emergency.

Be Aware of Tides

cornwall water safety

Changing tides and fast-flowing currents can easily catch you out when bathing or surfing in the seas around the Cornish coast. Sudden wave changes may surprise the strongest swimmers and take you off course. Focusing on a landmark will help you keep your bearings. An unexpected change in the weather can affect the swell and cause the water temperature to fluctuate, lowering the body’s heat and causing muscle spasms and hyperventilation. Be aware of weather conditions and wear a wet suit if planning on swimming where water temperatures may drop.

Have Some Basic Rules

Some basic rules apply to everyone entering the water. Avoid running on slippery surfaces such as rocks to prevent falls, and don’t indulge in boisterous games, which can lead to injury or drowning. Be aware of the depth, and don’t dive in unless it is marked as safe with no underwater hazards to avoid head injuries. Enter the water cautiously, feet first, especially in unknown waters, as treading unexpectedly on some unseen object could cause you to overbalance and fall, making you panic.

Use Floatation Devices and Wear Bright Colours

child safety cornwall

If you encounter difficulties in the water, a flotation device will allow you to rest and conserve energy until help arrives. A child wearing a life vest can roll onto their back and stay above the water. Adults should also wear a life jacket, especially on a surfboard or seafaring craft that could sink or cause them to fall in the water. This will help keep them afloat and make them more visible to rescue services. Carrying a whistle to summon help is another good idea, as is wearing the proper clothing so you can be easily spotted if in danger or distress.

Be Aware of Hazards

Rip currents and tides claim hundreds of lives yearly, so be aware of what they are and where they occur. If you are caught in one, don’t panic; try to swim out by swimming parallel to the shore, not against the current. Avoid being too close to Jettys and Piers. The waves could throw you against them, causing injury. Hazards such as underwater objects, fish, vegetation, and other swimmers could also be dangerous, so be aware of what is around you in the water and take precautions not to encroach on their space.


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