A beach vacation is a dream for anyone, especially in the dead of winter. Warm sun, crashing waves, collecting shells, soft sand, and relaxation are things that come to mind immediately. However, beach safety should be first since it is essential to know how to stay safe at the beach to enjoy that long-awaited vacation.
Know how to swim and always have a buddy
The first rule of safety is to have some ability to swim and swimming skills awareness. Some people use to swim in a pool only that is very different than swimming in the ocean where the conditions can change in instant. The best rule of thumb is to stay in water only waist-deep if swimming is difficult and wear a life vest.
Even if you are confident in the water, it is still recommended to have a swimming buddy. The statistics show that most drownings happen to single swimmers, so following the buddy system can come in handy, especially if there is an emergency.
Enter the water feet first
Another essential beach safety tip is to enter the water feet first rather than dive in headfirst or which is the worst, jump from cliffs. Never assume the depth of water or what is underneath, even if the bottom is visible. While there may be soft sand, there are undoubtedly also rocks and other objects in the water. Going headfirst can lead to head, neck, and spine injuries.
Entering the water feet first has other benefits too. During stingray season, do the stingray shuffle, which is entering the water without lifting the feet. Stomping into the water will frighten stingrays, but feet shuffling will alert them to someone nearby, and they are less likely to react.
Stay in designated areas with lifeguards present
Beach lifeguards are trained professionals that take their job seriously and follow safety guidelines. They want to be able to help the people who need their services so if you wish to stay safe plan your beach vacation to places where there is a lifeguard on duty and stay in the designated swimming zones.
Lifeguards can have more time to perform their regular duties and focus on emergencies when beachgoers stay in designated areas and observe any warning flags at the beach.
Learn Rip Current Safety
A rip current is an invisible, strong surface current that pulls water away from the beach. No swimmer is good enough to withstand strong rip tides. Lifeguard rescues are 80% rip current rescues so, therefore, learning how to identify and escape from such currents is one of the most important beach safety tips.
Pay attention to high tide and low tide throughout the day. Rip currents are strongest at low tide and common around piers and jetties. Many people mistakenly confuse waves with the strength of a current. In fact, there is a higher probability of drowning due to a rip current than a wave.
If you are caught in it, don’t try to swim against it towards the shore but swim parallel until you are free so you can head to the shore.
Be aware of weather hazards
One of the most underrated risks at the beach are weather hazards. At this point, many think of hurricanes only, but there are everyday hazards such as lightning and water spouts that can happen at any time.
Around beaches, there are sometimes strikes and also, water spouts can form over the water and make landfall. So, when the sky gets dark, or the wind gets strong, seek shelter immediately. Also, be aware of algae blooms in water, especially red tide, which can be toxic to humans and living creatures.
Know the beach safety signs
It is crucial to observe the safety rules for the beach and read the warning signs to avoid beach accidents. There are many different kinds of them, and many of them have small print or involve identifying warning flags at the beach.
Some signs also are temporary and placed on the beach throughout the day based on the conditions. It is important to observe any change in signs, for example, warnings about a shark spotted or changes in the current. Never ignore these notifications as they tell you how to stay safe in the ocean.
Pay attention to marine animals
Another mistake that beachgoers make is getting close to marine animals that unfortunately sometimes cause beach injuries. You might think that we’ll be talking about sharks here, but in fact, such attacks are extremely rare so it is better to focus on those stinging marine animals you’ll most likely meet when heading to the beach.
- comfortable beach shoes made from breathable and smooth fabrics
- with rubber sole to protects your feet from sharp objects like glass, coral, and shell pieces as well as stinging marine animals
- super lightweight and flexible to take it wherever you want
A jellyfish sting can either hurt be lethal, but sea urchins can cause painful moments too, so always pay attention not to touch or step on them. While swimming, wear rash guard that is effective against jellyfish and protect your feet by using beach shoes!
Don’t drink alcohol
While everyone wants to live the life described in Jimmy Buffett’s song Margaritaville, the fact is that drinking alcohol is a danger to beachgoers and those around them. Many beaches have banned the consumption of alcohol for beach safety purposes.
First, alcohol is dehydrating, and it is paramount to stay hydrated in the hot sun. Second, alcohol and its effects can lead to poor judgment, especially during any activities, such as driving a boat or ski-doo. In order to stay hydrated, drink plenty of cool water or coconut water that is excellent for the beach!
Eat light food
Eating heavy food before or during a beach trip can make some people feel like a beached whale. In addition to packing plenty of water, prepare light beach snacks.
Be sure to bring salty (sandwiches, nuts) and sweet bites (granola, fruits) to balance out the body’s electrolytes. Only drinking water in the sun can be just as dangerous as dehydration without electrolytes.
Don’t stay too long in the sun
Sometimes vacationers want to make the most of their getaway by spending as much time as possible at the beach. It is essential to plan for breaks and bring equipment that provides shelter from the sun’s rays.
Ideally, plan for 1-3 hours at the beach and avoid the noontime sun. However, those planning to stake out their spot of the day should bring a tent or a beach-grade umbrella. Otherwise, the sunburn will hurt, but a heatstroke can be lethal.
The key to having a successful vacation is first to observe safety rules. It may seem daunting to know there are hazards to avoid at the beach. Still, it is just a learning curve that every successful beachgoer learns to make their trip more enjoyable. Now, get ready and go on that beach vacation!
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