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Australia Total Solar Eclipse, Wednesday 14 November 2012
Sun-safe and beach safety guide for Australians, eclipse chasers, astronomers and visitors to Australia
Eclipse Geeks and the Australian Government want you to enjoy the mind boggling and awesome display of the 2012 Total Solar Eclipse in Australia. We also want you to be safe and it is likely that Australians, eclipse chasers, astronomers and other visitors will also want to take advantage of their time and partake in other activities, such as going to the beach to swim, bathe, surfboard, perhaps even a round of golf or whatever takes your fancy. This is a guide to sun-safe and beach safety for Australians, eclipse chasers, astronomers and visitors to Australia.
Also included is brief advice on surfing etiquette for newcomers to surfing and boarding sports.
Hopefully the skies will be clear on the day of the Solar Eclipse
Many Australians and visitors will want to view this magnificent event and hopefully the skies will be clear on the day of the eclipse. Australians and visitors will be gazing skywards in excited anticipation, viewing the Australian 2012 Total Solar Eclipse from many different vantage points. From sun drenched beaches to remote areas of the Great Southern Land of Australia, there will be immense enthusiasm amongst children, students and adults from across the land.
We Encourage every Australian and Traveller to view the Total Solar Eclipse of 2012
While we endorse and encourage every Australian and traveller to view the Total Solar Eclipse of 2012, it is important to be aware of the strength of the sun. Many Australians will be familiar with sun safe protocols, while visitors may not be aware of the recommended sun safe precautions.
The sun is very strong in Australia with its rays entering parallel to or almost parallel to the Earth's surface, with the Sun being directly or almost directly above one’s head depending on your latitude. It is important for all Australians and visitors to Australia, to look and listen for UV Index levels in local weather forecasts.
Australian Government of Meteorology Advice Solar Eclipse
Eclipse Geeks gives acknowledgment for the information about sunsafe to the Australian Government of Meteorology
SunSmart Australia - Solar Eclipse
Cancer Council Australia recommends Australians and visitors to Australia to take five steps to protect against sun damage when the SunSmart UV Alert indicates the UV Index is at 3 or above:
1. Slip on some sun-protective clothing - that covers as much skin as possible
2. Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen - make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
3. Slap on a hat - that protects your face, head, neck and ears
4. Seek shade
5. Slide on some sunglasses - make sure they meet Australian Standards
Check and Protect
It is important for all Australians and visitors to Australia, to look and listen for UV Index levels in local weather forecasts.
You should use a combination of sun protection measures to keep you safe from UV radiation-never rely on just one.
UV and Sun Protection services
The Bureau of Meteorology issue a UV Index forecast every day to help people avoid overexposure to high levels of UV radiation. In order to flag the time during the day when the levels of UV radiation can damage your skin, the Bureau, Cancer Council and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), have adopted the UV Alert based on the World Health Organisation's Global Solar UV Index
Facts about UV Radiation
1. The sun emits UVA, UVB and UVC radiation. The ozone layer blocks all UVC radiation, most UVB
but none of the UVA radiation.
2. UVA penetrates deep into the skin causing damage like wrinkles and discolouration.
3. Exposure to UVB causes sunburn. Sunburn, whether severe or mild, can cause permanent skin
4. Skin cancer is a disease of the body's skin cells caused mainly by overexposure to UV radiation.
5. Heat or high temperatures are not an indication of UV levels. Factors such as latitude, ozone, cloud,
reflection from surfaces, time of year and time of day determine UV levels.
6. UV levels vary in intensity and level across Australia on any given day.
7. When the UV Index reaches 3, sensible sun protection is warranted and is unlikely to put people at
risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Our Star - the Sun - and planet Earth
The Sun supports life on Earth, but too much sunshine on Human
skin can be detrimental to health. Some sun is good, too much is bad for your skin and health.
UV Radiation - a healthy balance
Keep a look out for charts like this:
Below is a sample UV alert graph which shows time, in two hour blocks, on the x (horizontal) axis and UV index (see below) on the y (vertical) axes. The period of day that you should be SunSmart is in the top left corner of the chart. In this case that is between 8:50am and 4:00pm. Underneath the UV alert period the maximum UV Index level forecast for this day is shown as a number. In this example 12 - which is extreme.
SunSmart Chart credit Australian Government of Meteorology
The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the major cause of skin cancer and also the best source of vitamin D.
In Australia a balance is needed to reduce the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure whilst maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.
Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. More than 1700 Australians die from skin cancer each year, and two out of three Australians will get a skin cancer before the age of 70. You can't see and you can't feel ultraviolet (UV) radiation - heat or high temperatures are not an indication of UV radiation.
We need vitamin D for good health and to keep bones and muscles strong. Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The UV index range on the right is expressed as a numeric value from 0 to 20 and as bands of colour representing the risk level of skin damage due to UV exposure:
Low (0-2): Green
Moderate (3-5): Yellow
High (6-7): Orange
Very High (8-10): Red
Extreme (11+): Purple
Remember the 5 safety rules by using the word: FLAGS
F - find the flags and swim between them. The flags represent the area patrolled by
lifeguards and lifesavers, and mark the safest place to swim at the beach. The flags which
indicate safe swimming are coloured red and yellow.
L - look at the safety signs. The safety signs help identify potential dangers and daily
conditions at the beach. They are located at beach access points and at the flagged areas.
Please read them carefully before entering the water.
A - ask a lifeguard for any advice. Surf conditions can change quickly (water depth,
currents, wave size, and type). Talk to a lifesaver or lifeguard before entering the water.
G - get a friend to swim with you. Always swim with a friend so you can look after each
other's safety and get help if needed. Children should always be supervised by an adult.
S - stick your hand up for help. If you get in to trouble in the water, stay calm and don't
panic. Raise your arm to signal for help, float and wait for assistance. Float with a current or
rip. Don't try and swim against it.
5 important safety rules:
Find Look Ask Get Stick
equals = FLAGS
The red and yellow flags show the supervised area of the beach and that a lifesaving service is operating. No red and yellow flags indicate there is no supervision.
No Flags = No Swim
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Australia has some of the Worlds most Glorious Beaches
Australia - Gold Coast: Partail Solar Eclipse 79% obscurity
Australia has some of the world’s most glorious beaches with most people living near or within short drive of the coast. The majority will visit the beach at least once a year, and many others at least once a week.
Australia's beaches are a place of fun, water-sports, social gathering, excitement and relaxation.
Mainland Australia has a coastline of 35,887 Km/27,292 miles and an additional 23,859 Km/14,825 miles of islands, making total coastline length of 59,736km/37,736 miles
Many Australian beaches look amazing there can be hidden Dangers
Although many Australian beaches look amazing with ultra-golden sand and crystal clear waters, there can also be hidden dangers that every Australian and traveller should know about:-
Most visitors may have heard about sharks which sometimes approach close to the shore of Australian waters, however the biggest threat are not the sharks, but the water itself. Many of Australia’s beaches have rips - these are powerful currents of water that can drag you along and out to sea.
Australia is large and it is not possible for every beach to have lifeguards
Australia is a large country and it is not possible for every beach to have lifeguards, therefore you will find many beaches are not patrolled. Often there are long stretches of inviting sand or long expansive and remote areas of rugged and dangerous coastline. In addition remember that there are many enormously powerful currents and rips along the coast, and you enter the sea at your own peril, and if you get into trouble, you are on your own. Never swim at an unpatrolled beach.
Know your Flags; Beach safety information and warning flags
Beach safety information and warning flags
1. Red and Yellow; safe swimming between the flags.
2. Yellow; caution, swim with caution, stay close to shore, surf is potentially dangerous.
3. Blue with surfer; surfboard riding only, an arrow marker below pointing to the left or right.
4. Blue; surfboard boundary, flown at side of the safe swimming area to mark the 'no go' area for boards.
5. Red; danger, do not enter the water, dangerous conditions
6. Red and White; shark alarm warning.
Never swim at unpatrolled beaches.
Never swim at dusk or at night.
Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Never swim directly after a meal.
If you are a visitor or unfamiliar to the local conditions - simply ask a lifesaver or one of the locals where you should ride and what the local rules are when it comes to 'catching a wave' The Surfer on the inside has right of way. Be patient and respect the ocean, the beach, mother nature, and the locals. Surfing is enjoyable - so have fun! For newcomers there are many excellent surfing schools dotted around Australia.
Surfboard Riders and Windsurfers
Surfboard riders and windsurfers are not allowed in swimming areas which are designated by the red and yellow 'safe-swimming' flags.
Board riders everywhere have a special fellowship and visitors are made welcome.