Lesson 4 – 20 minutes

Learning outcomes

  • Identify surging, spilling and plunging wave
  • Recognise the dangers swimmers can be exposed to with a changing tide



  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Pictures
  • Photos of waves


  • Ensure each participant has the Waves Worksheet or use other pictures/photos to explain the difference between the following wave types:
    • Surging – never break but can knock you over and drag you into deep water.
    • Spilling – usually has less force and is good for body surfing.
    • Plunging – a larger wave that can dump you onto the bottom with great force.
  • Ask participants to identify which wave is safe and which would be dangerous and why.
    Safe – spilling waves, they are more gentle and less powerful.
    Dangerous – plunging waves, they can dump on you and cause neck injuries.
  • Explain how tides work (i.e. tides are on a 6-hour high/low pattern caused by the moon’s gravitational pull).
  • Explain how tides can have associated dangers (i.e. low tide can expose rocks, sandbars etc that cause different water current patterns)

Activity 1

  • Go for a walk along the beach, looking at and discussing the wave types or other potential dangers in the area.


Was this helpful?

Yes No
You indicated this topic was not helpful to you ...
Could you please leave a comment telling us why? Thank you!
Thanks for your feedback.

Post your comment on this topic.

Post Comment