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Don’t ruin your summer fun – these tips from celebrity TV lifeguard Trent ‘Maxi’ Maxwell will keep you safe and smiling when you hit the water.

Choose the right beach
“Make sure the beach you visit has red and yellow flags and is patrolled by lifeguards,” says Maxi. “Actually take the time to stop and read the information signs – they’ll tell you everything you need to know about that locations, from where the flags might be to what hazards are present, as well as the emergency numbers to call if something goes wrong.”

Read the water
Dangers present at the beach may not be written on the sign so don’t solely rely on it. Learn how to spot rips. “If there is a large swell, it could mean that rips are stronger, too.” Remember that each beach will be different – there may be a beach just nearby that’s more protected if you are having doubts.

Watch your children
Supervise your children, regardless of how old they are – this includes regularly applying sunscreen, drinking plenty of water and keeping their energy up with healthy food, as well as physically swimming with your kids. And, of course, make sure they always swim between the flags.

Age is just a number
Deciding whether your children are safe to swim on their own – or even visit the beach with friends – is more about their skill level and responsibility than their age. “Make sure they know the risks and hazards associated with visiting the beach without adult supervision,” says Maxi. A good way for kids to learn is to get them involved in a surf club, or join nippers, so that they learn water safety and beach safety from an early age.

Come prepared
It’s not just about how you act on the beach, but what you bring, too. Water, sunscreen, food, an umbrella for shade, floatation devices (if your children can’t swim) and personal sun protection – like a hat, sunglasses and rashie – are just some of the essentials Maxi recommends.

“Always know your surroundings and if you’re not confident, save the beach for another day,” he says.

Maxi’s ‘Live Learn Survive’ workshops teach children all about water safety, among other lifelong safety lessons. His website explains more.

www.lifeguardmaxi.com.au

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