Bali’s beaches are famous for their surfing and their sheer beauty, with tourists arriving to swim, bodyboard or surf along the island’s coastal fringe.
Yet accidents do happen, often with visitors vulnerable to sunburn, treacherous undercurrents – even a small but very real risk of tsunamis.
The internationally-recognised BIMC Hospital Bali has prepared seven key tips to follow.
Heed local warnings
Pay attention to Bali’s beach guards such as Balawista. Simple rule: when the surf is up, it’s a sign that there are stronger currents and more frequent waves – both of which may be too much for the average swimmer and certainly for small and adventurous children. Watch for the red warning flags.
Alcohol and swimming don’t mix
Many catastrophic injuries – including drowning – involve alcohol consumption, which can impair your judgment, balance and coordination.
Alcohol levels in the body are higher when people are not drinking plenty of water and are out in the sun – factors that lead to dehydration.
Know your limitations
Drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death in children (just behind car accidents).
Drowning people cannot wave for help; they’re naturally trying to keep their mouths above water. They can only struggle on the surface for 20-60 seconds before going under again, unless they are rescued.
Go inside when you see lightning
Lightning strikes on beaches are extremely common and it’s the third deadliest threat for sunbathers and swimmers every year. When a storm rolls in, get inside your hotel or villa.
Take plenty of breaks
Exhaustion, sunburn, hypothermia and heat stroke are all common problems when spending a day at the beach, so take a short break every hour. Go to the restroom, drink plenty of fresh water, have a light snack and re-apply sunscreen.
All of these are vital to being comfortable after a day of sun, sand and salt water.
Read the tsunami information in your hotel
Tsunamis are both deadly and unpredictable; these huge waves are triggered by underwater earthquakes and can reach the shore in minutes, leaving no time for authorities to sound the alarm.
This is especially true of Bali, where earthquake-prone zones lie very close to shore.
Keep the BIMC Emergency Card handy (3000 911)
When you need immediate treatment, call the emergency ambulance service written on the BIMC emergency card.
Although many hospitals claim to provide 24-hour ambulance access, in practice these services are very limited and not readily available.
The only reliable emergency service with international standard equipment and quick ambulance dispatch is at the BIMC Hospital (there will be a charge for the service).
At BIMC Hospital, the ambulance team always consists of a doctor and a nurse and the emergency room is prepared to provide professional service immediately from minor injuries to more complex procedures.
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