The golden rule for swimmers is "swim between the flags". Our tourist
beaches are patrolled by lifesavers and they put out flags. You will find surf
lifesaving clubs in most coastal communities, sometimes within a kilometre of
The main beaches are protected by shark nets and it is easy to think you are
safe everywhere. You are not. I vividly recall a trip to the far northern gulf
country. I went for a stroll down the beach and my family went for a paddle.
The sea was flat and everything seemed safe to my over-relaxed mind. Then
I saw a fin in the muddy water. A wave took it towards me and a sizeable
shark was deposited at my feet. Although in the shallows, the ferocious
animal propelled itself at me, jaws snapping. My heart missed a beat and I
sprinted back to my family, yelling for them to get out of the water.
In remote tropical areas, crocodiles are a real risk. Signs warning you about
the big amphibian are not put up as a tourist gimmick. There are laws to stop
us killing them but no effective legislation to stop them eating us.