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Five tips for an accessible day by the sea

In our latest blog one of our fabulous volunteers, Zee, shares her tips for enjoying a day at the beach. Read on for Zee’s recommendations for getting the most out of a trip to the sea!

Five tips for an accessible day by the sea

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is go to the beach. Ever since I was a child, my family and I would spend most of our summer days by the beach. You could say it has become a ritual of ours. The sound of the waves crashing onto the shores, children running and laughing, the smell of salt in the air, and the sand beneath your toes. It’s exhilarating how nature can be so breathtaking yet so soothing at the same time.

However, as a visually impaired person, I know I need to be careful when being out in the sun especially on these very hot days when all I want to do is sit on a beach, enjoy the sun and read a book. No one wants to get sunburnt after snoozing too long under the sun (talking from experience here!). We all want the chance to enjoy the summer while being safe.

Here are my top tips for having a lovely, safe and accessible beach day:

Who packed the sunscreen?

As much as I love being out in the sun, I do not enjoy the aftermath of getting first degree (or any other degree!) sunburn. Have you ever experienced it? Those red blotches of sensitive skin that sting whenever someone pokes you or burn at the first touch of the water dripping in the shower. Well my lovelies, there is a way to avoid this. As one of my best friends would say “put some sunscreen on!”.

For people like us with sensory disabilities, one or more of our senses can sometimes be heightened and, in my case, it is my sense of touch and sound. So, avoiding getting sunburn is high up on my bucket list! Medical experts have noted that sunscreen can reduce signs of aging (like sun spots and broken blood vessels) and prevent skin cancer. So, next time you leave the house for a beach day remember, keys, wallet, bag, cane and oh yes … sunscreen!

Shades for days!

Sometimes ,when we’re lucky, the sun decides to grace us with her lovely presence. At the hight of summer in Scotland we can get very bright days which, for some people with sensory disabilities and impairments, can be uncomfortable or painful. Sometimes this can cause people with disabilities to feel as if the beach is unwelcoming or make them feel excluded due to feeling different. Fear not, Zee has a solution! Why not grab a pair of sunglasses that make you feel comfortable and in style.

I always carry around either my black or pink lens sunglasses, and the best part is that they are prescription lenses. This means I do not need to carry around my glasses which I love dearly and never leave the house without. Did you know that you can visit your local opticians to talk about sunglass options to help suite your needs? Amazing right! You can even choose from different lens which also have protection from UV light! It was one of the best things I did to protect my eyes from the rays of the sun while sitting on the beach reading.

Make sure you have the right cane tip

I’ve been a white cane user since I was 16. I never leave the house without my trusty white cane ‘Storm’. However, sometimes it can be difficult using my cane on surfaces that are uneven like cobbled stones, mud and even, you guessed it, beach sand! However, there is a solution for this. After watching many of my favourite blind and visually impaired influencers on Instagram and TikTok, I discovered that there is a cane tip you can use for uneven surfaces like snow, gravel, grass and sand.

Introducing the Ambutech Dakota disk tip which comes in white, and also red for anyone who wants to add some snazzy colours to their cane! I have never used one but I have seen a lot of people use it online and, after being on the beach, I am definitely going to grab one from the RNIB online store. Everyone deserves a beach day including our beautiful canes!

Every beach day needs its necessities

You know how Marry Poppins always carries her bag and umbrella with her on every adventure she goes on? Well, so do I. How can I manage carrying everything I need for my adventures around Scotland with a cane in my hand? The solution is to carry a trusty bag which can fit everything you need for your trip to the beach but is also waterproof and is easy to clean after sitting down all day in the warm sand.

Make sure the bag is big enough to carry everything you need but also won’t be heavy to carry around. I usually take a backpack with me because it has compartments to fit everything, and I do mean everything! You can even fit a beach volleyball in it which, come to think of it, is something I should have remembered to take with me. Oh, well there is always next time!

Always better with friends

A beach day is never complete without your friends by your side. It would not be half as much fun if you have no one to swim with, walk on the beach with, collect shells with or even play some beach volleyball or frisbee with. You get to enjoy the company of others while being in beautiful surroundings. I love how in Scotland you can get anywhere so quickly, especially the beaches around Glasgow.

Going with friends also means that they can help you when needed, because we all need a little bit of help every now and then. I always enjoy holding onto my friend’s arm at the edge of the sea so I can dip my feet into the freezing Scottish water, or when they describe to me what is on the sea or when they ask me what sounds I can hear around me. So, grab a friend, or two or three, and head to your nearest beach for some laughter, fun, food, and sunshine.

Thanks Zee for sharing your top tips! We hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy a day at the beach over the summer months.

Would you like to write a blog post for us? No topic is too big or small. We love hearing about peoples interests, passions, pastimes and even pet hates! We want to champion the amazing things that people do, and challenge the things that could be better, so that we can inspire and empower other people living with sight loss to try new things, share their views and hear about other peoples’ lived experiences.

If you have a topic you’d like to write about please get in touch:

0141 332 4632

info@nullvisibilityscotland.org.uk

Image of Natasha Johnston
Written by: Natasha Johnston

Posted on the: July 22, 2022
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