|The coastlines of the world are extremely varied and are the result of years of erosion from the wind and waves that tear and pound the earth and shorelines of our coast, shaping it into its current state. There are different kinds of coastlines ranging from flat coastal strips, high chalk cliff lines and sand dunes to exposed headlands. As rocks become eroded into smaller and smaller particles each year, they are shaped into different forms. The main types of coastal surface are rocky shores, shingle, sandy beaches, salt marshes and muddy estuaries.|
Some countries are landlocked and do not have a coastline and others just have a very small coastline. Slovenia is just such a country, with a tiny coastline of only 46.6km. Other countries like Australia, USA and China have huge expanses of coast. In fact, China's coastline stretches for a staggering 14,500 km, facing the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea.
There are many different life forms that grace the coastal areas of the world, including coral, shellfish, seaweed, barnacles and starfish to name just a few. Many of the world's beaches are protected by groups that promote safe bathing by introducing pollution and sewage minimilization policies.
The dangers of the coast are weather, tides and currents. All can be potentially life-threatening elements if they are not respected fully and treated with extreme caution. The best thing to do is check the local coastguard's advice on dangerous underwater currents as well as any news on severe advance weather warnings and tide times. Tides are particularly dangerous as they can cut you off between two points, leaving you susceptible to drowning.
Lifeguard services and coastguards are there for emergencies only and should only be required in times of distress. It is up to the individual to ensure that safe steps are taken in order to prevent life threatening situations from escalating.
If you should get into difficulties in the water;
* Stay calm and refrain from the temptation to struggle. Save and conserve your energy.
* Lay flat on your back
* Try to draw attention to yourself by waving just one of your arms and calling out
* If and when you are rescued, remain calm and do not try to grab hold of the rescuer, they will hold you.