When you are out exploring the reef at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve or any other area that has tidepools, there are some important guidelines to follow.
Never turn your back on the ocean! Rogue or “sneaker” waves can roll in at any time, regardless of tide and weather conditions. Rogue waves swamp the exposed area, and drag unwary visitors into the ocean.
Usually you will start exploring the tidepools while the tide is low and perhaps still outgoing; make sure you know when the tide will turn and start coming back in, and keep track of the time on your watch. Don’t be cut off from the beach and stairs by the incoming tide!
Watch your footing. Kelp can be slippery, rocks can be wobbly, and solid-looking tangles of seaweed may conceal pools of water. Wear sturdy shoes. Make sure nobody in your group tries to RUN on the reef!
Keep kids close. If you have to shout for your kids to hear you, the group is too spread out.
Keep your hands free as much as possible by securing binoculars, cameras and cell phones in pockets or on straps.