The coming days are expected to bring a heatwave in Denmark, prompting lifeguards to issue safety advice to people in the country for the second time this month.
Denmark's coastal lifeguard corps Trygfonden Kystlivredning (TK) is expecting to be busy during the hot spell and has issued advice reminding beachgoers to keep in mind its five bathing rules:
- Learn to swim
- Never go into the water alone
- Read the water and the wind
- Familiarize yourself with the beach
- Do not let children out of sight.
Additionally, all beach visitors are urged to only bathe at beaches where lifeguards are present and stay within areas marked by yellow and red flags.
“Where there are lifeguards, there’s extra supervision. And if you swim between the flags you will be particularly-well looked out for,” Michael Iwersen, an educator with TK, said.
The red-yellow flags mark a ‘primary zone’ prioritized for monitoring by lifeguards, and where bathing is recommended.
“Lifeguards have a constant eye on the water in their primary zone so they can see if anybody gets into trouble,” Iwersen said.
Flags placed at the top of lifeguard towers also provide information about swimming conditions. A red and yellow flag means that swimming conditions are normal, while a completely yellow flag means caution should be taken, for example due to offshore winds.
A red flag means bathing is discouraged.
Offshore winds, which may occur in some coastal areas this week, mean that wind blows away from the shore.
“Offshore wind can be treacherous, because you don’t notice it if you are sheltered by cliffs. Out on the water, things might seem mild and flat,” Iwersen said.
“So you might be unaware that the wind can push someone in the water away from the coast,” he explained.
If the wind blows a beach toy out to sea, it’s important not to swim after it, the lifeguard instructor stressed.
He also advised informing a lifeguard if a toy or object has been lost, so as to avoid an unnecessary rescue operation.
Bathers on beaches without lifeguards should be even more stringent about following the five rules for safe swimming at sea.