Bathing safely

  • Group of youngsters swimming on the beach with life preservers
  • Group of surfers at the shore with surfboards under their arms

Bathe safely

Beware of currents when bathing. The presence of currents is indicated by the colour of the warning flag. Avoid breakwaters and follow the lifeguards' advice. If you are caught in a current, never fight it. Stay afloat and call for help.

Look up recommendations and good practices to enjoy the beaches and bathe safely.

1. The best bathing is safe bathing. Always respect the beach warning flags.

2. If you follow the lifeguards' advice, you are sure to have a great time on the beach.

3. Always swim parallel to the breakers and not far from the beach.

4. If you can't swim or don't feel confident enough to swim, always bathe near a lifeguard, warn them before entering the water and try not going in deeper than your waist.

5. Do not venture beyond the area marked with yellow buoys and never swim near the breakwaters.

6. It is forbidden to walk on the breakwaters, fish from them or climb up on them to dive back into the water.

7. If you have any problems, let the lifeguard or the person closest to you know by raising your hand and audibly calling for help. Try to keep calm while waiting for help to come. If you have something to help keep you afloat, use it and don't let go.

8. Beware of currents when bathing. The presence of currents is indicated by the colour of the warning flag. Avoid breakwaters and follow the lifeguards' advice. If you are caught in a current, never fight it. Stay afloat and call for help.

9. Never pretend to be in difficulties. Remember that when you call for help this activates the rescue service, and you could be preventing the lifeguards from helping someone who is really in trouble.

10. If you notice jellyfish, take the necessary precautions. Don't swim near them, don't touch them or try to remove them from the water. In fact, it is best not to swim at all. Never let children play with jellyfish and if stung, ask the lifeguard for help.

11. If there are rocks on the seabed near the beach, take note of the signs and do not dive. A good way to avoid getting hurt is to look into the water before entering it.

12. Fishing is only allowed in the designated areas and is forbidden between 06:00 and 22:00.

13. It is best not to consume alcohol on the beach because it slows down the reflexes. If you do, you are advised not to swim or at least to freshen up in the shower before entering the water.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish are marine animals that live in open water. They swim very slowly and are swept toward the coast by the currents in spring and summer.

If you touch a jellyfish, even if it is dead, it can inject a substance into your skin that produces a burning sensation. Contact with the tentacles or parts of them, both in the water and on the sand, can cause injury.

Things to remember

  • Avoid areas where waves break because this is where jellyfish remains accumulate.
  • Do not swim if there are jellyfish or if the beach monitoring services advise you not to.
  • Jellyfish should never be touched or removed from the water, even if they are dead.
  • A jellyfish sting feels similar to a burn and causes a skin rash that may reappear several times.
  • Contact with the tentacles of a jellyfish can cause local and general lesions: skin rashes, redness, swelling, stinging and severe pain.
  • Sun cream, bathing suits and anything that covers the skin help protect against jellyfish.
  • People with a record of allergies, asthma or cardiovascular disease, children and those that have already been stung by a jellyfish are more sensitive to the toxin released by these animals.

What should you do if you're stung?

  • Get out of the water.
  • Do not scratch or rub the affected area with your hands, a towel or any other material.
  • Remove the tentacle remains from skin (with tweezers or gloves), if they are visible.
  • Wash the wound with saltwater. Never use fresh water, as this activates jellyfish cells and increases the amount of toxin.
  • As soon as possible, fill a plastic bag with ice and apply it for five minutes to the affected area (never put the ice directly on the skin). If this does not soothe the pain, apply the bag of ice for a further five minutes.
  • To prevent the wound from becoming infected, an antiseptic (iodized alcohol) should be applied 3-4 times a day for two or three days.
  • These measures must be taken as soon as possible. If there is no improvement or the sting causes trembling, nausea, dizziness or severe pain, go to a hospital.

In any case, if there is a lifeguard post on the beach, go there immediately for help.

Information taken from a pamphlet published by the Health Department of the Generalitat of Catalonia, with advice from the Institute of Sea Sciences of the CSIC and the Clinical Toxicology Department at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

This pamphlet can be found at all the first-aid and information points on Barcelona's beaches.

And don't forget:

Good practices for enjoying the beach

  1. The beach is a huge common space. Look after it and share it.
  2. Opt for separate collection and deposit your waste in the correct recycling bin: empty containers in the yellow bin and all other waste in the grey bin.
  3. If you smoke, don't leave ashes or cigarette butts in the sand. Reusable beach ashtrays are available from information points.
  4. Keeping the water clean is your responsibility too.
  5. There is a place for everything and everyone on Barcelona's beaches. Choose the beach that best suits what you feel like doing.
  6. If you want to listen to music, wear headphones.
  7. If you want to play, use the designated areas where you can play all kinds of beach sports.
  8. Respect the areas marked out as boat entry and departure points.
  9. If you treat the showers and toilets with care, you will always find them clean and ready to use.

Bathe safely

Beware of currents when bathing. The presence of currents is indicated by the colour of the warning flag. Avoid breakwaters and follow the lifeguards' advice. If you are caught in a current, never fight it. Stay afloat and call for help.

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