When sailors go cruising in idyllic circumstances we often dinghy to a beach to start exploring or provisioning.
We also swim from them, let our kids play on them and go trailing along the edge of the water.
But just how much do we understand about the beach and its potential hazards?
The types of waves and the way they break, tides and their currents, dangerous rips and how to spot them, and why some beaches are safer than others?
As for those who approach the beach from the other side, every year tens of thousands of people need to be rescued from the ocean because beach-goers don’t possess basic beach safety knowledge and skills.
The Essential Beach Book by Dr Rob Brander (aka Dr Rip), a surf-lifesaver and scientist who studies beaches, rips and currents, is a simple, entertaining and useful guide to beach safety, with a solid scientific basis.
He explains how beaches form, what drives waves and how rips develop, and offers practical advice to show you how to get the most out of your encounter with a beach.
To get an idea of the contents, here are the chapters and their headings:
1 The sands of time: beaches past, present and future; How to build a sandcastle; Beachcombing and beach fossicking
2 Waves: the science of the surf; The art of bodysurfing; Boogie boarding for young and old; Learning to surf
3 Motions of the oceans: tides, tsunamis and storms; Rockpool rambling;
4 White is nice, green is mean: rips and other currents; The rip current survival guide; How to spot a rip
5 Life’s a beach … but which one? ; How to observe proper beach etiquette; An idiot’s guide to driving on a beach
6 Shark fin soup and other things that can kill you: beach hazards and safety; The shark attack survival guide; The beach safety checklist
Talking of beach safety, here is Dr Rob Brander's excellent video on how to spot a rip on a surfing beach, and how to behave if you are caught in one.
The book can be purchased at your local book reseller or at any of the Boat Books stores in Australia:
Boat Books Sydney 31 Albany Street Crows Nest NSW 2065 phone: (02) 9439 1133
Boat Books Brisbane 109 Albert Street Brisbane QLD 4000 phone: (07) 3229 6427
Boat Books Melbourne 214 St Kilda Road St Kilda VIC 3182 phone: (03) 9525 3444