When swimming, surfing or bodyboarding, it's helpful to understand the different types of waves so you can decide whether to go out or stay ashore.
Always watch for dangerous waves, like surging waves or dumping waves and never think it's safe to wave-dodge. The sea is unpredictable and what looks like fun could end in tragedy. Large waves could take you out to sea in a matter of seconds.
You should also beware of rough or choppy water - it can sap your strength and make you too tired to swim. If the water is rough, get out of the sea and wait until it is calm enough to go in again.
It's important to check the tide times for the beach you're visiting. The tide comes in and out twice a day. This means the beach that you arrived at in the morning can be a very different place only a few hours later. For example, if you walk out at low tide, you may not be able to return if the tide comes in and the water rises.
If you're at the beach with children, make sure they are not playing somewhere that could be cut off if the tide comes in.
All information is from RLNI and google searches