Staying Safe in the Waters Around Tenerife.

It may come as a suprise that every year many people die in the waters of Tenerife and although the 'official' advice may come across as common sense, it helps to be a bit cautious around the unpredictable sea, after all it is the Atlantic Ocean.

From my limited experience of living in Tenerife and Los Gigantes, I can say for sure that the coast here is very unpredictable and every year without failure there are incidents where people lose their lives.

For example here in Los Gigantes we have a 'Piscina Natural' where its delightful to watch the waves break against the concrete wall protecting the pool from the open water, the waves are astonishing and shoot high into the sky as they hit the wall.

However, I remeber being here myself when the sea was wild, I was cautious, stayed away from the water as the waves were rolling over the wall as if it was not even there.

A family came along, started playing by the steps leading to the mouth of the pool and little did they know that when a big wave came along it would swell up into the mouth of the pool, crashing over the steps and onto the pavement where bathers normally lay their towels. This family ignored any advice to stay away and the father and little girl were playing in the water.

A few minutes passed and I could see a massive wave approaching the pool barrier between the sea, and others too, we all scream in unison to alert the father and daughter of the oncoming wave, but they continued to ignore us. The wave came with force, a fountain of sea water spouted high into the air, crashed down over the pool and caused a wave to run across the surface, up into the mouth, crashing high over the steps and as the water ran backwards to the pool the little girl was swept away with the force of the water returning to the sea.

She was lucky, she wasn't seriously injured, only shocked, but for a moment it looked like the sea was going to take her away. The mother gave the father a rather harsh telling off and quickly they hurried off.

This family are lucky they didn't lose their daughter this day, not everyone has been so blessed, many times people will climb the wall between the sea and pool and as they stand there an unexpected strong wave will crash against the wall pulling the people into the open sea and their lives are lost.

Video from the'Piscina Natural'

The Official Advice

This advice may appear like common sense but unfortunately people do die by not following it.

· Choose a beach carefully, depending on whether you can swim or not, your age, if you have children or not. (children must be with parents at all times.)

· Choose a quiet beach with good access and a life guard if you are not an expert swimmer or you are going with family.

· Check for weather alerts through social media or if staying in a hotel it should be presented in the hotel lobby. Avoid the coast if there are warnings for waves and winds.

· Don't dive into shallow water.

· Don't enter the water if you have been drinking or taking drugs, as this may affect your abilty to not only swim but affect your judgement of the conditons.

· When it is windy do not use lilos or floats because the wind may carry you away from the shore and out to sea.

· Remeber to call 112 if you see someone in difficulty, try to throw them something that floats, but do not attempt to enter the water yourself.

In beaches WITH lifeguards:

· Check for signage indicating zones for watersports.

· Check the colour of the flag displayed, Green: You can swim. Yellow: Swim with caution. Red: Don't enter the water.

· Obey any instructions given by the lifeguard.

· If you are having difficulties, try and get out of the water, if not, try gain attention by waving your arms so someone will see you.

In beaches WITHOUT signs or lifegaurds:

· Don't go swimming alone

· Ask local people or any surfers where the dangerous parts of the water/beach are.

· Enter the water slowly, checking the depth.

· Swim parallel to the coast maintaining your depth.

Please remember to always be careful around the water here and take into account your own health. Always check the colour flags on the beach, weather conditions and stay safe.