Beach vacations are always something to look forward to. Ocean activities, from snorkeling to surfing, form some of the best memories that we replay in our minds. Being near water releases happy hormones in our body that benefit our entire well-being.
However, despite the ocean’s mesmerizing beauty, it hides risks and natural dangers that everyone swimming in the open sea should be aware of. It’s best to educate the whole family or group on ocean safety before going on a beach vacation.
Top 10 Beach Safety Tips
If you’re planning a beach trip to the islands with fun water activities, here’s how you can enjoy them while making sure you and your family are safe. Below are some helpful facts, tips, and reminders when swimming at the beach.
Swim with a group
Whether in the ocean or a swimming pool, it’s unwise to swim alone, especially in open waters. No matter how good you are as a swimmer, accidents can still happen. You may experience cramping or encounter a jellyfish. The ocean has many unpredictable elements, such as undercurrents, making you lose control of your buoyancy. Having people around you will ensure your safety.
Stay within sight of a lifeguard
All resorts and vacation rentals have a lifeguard on duty most hours of the day to ensure the safety of their guests. Additionally, the establishment’s staff usually have proper training on responding to accidents and emergencies. But even though the resort safety employee is prepared to respond to accidents, your responsibility as a guest is not to put yourself at a disadvantage. Stay within sight of a lifeguard when swimming to ensure your safety.
Feet first when entering the water
The ocean floor is uneven and unpredictable, so the safest way to enter the water is feet first to test the depth and check for obstructions. Walk with caution and feel the ground before swimming. For instance, stingrays love to bury themselves under the sand near the shorelines when looking for food. Do the “stingray shuffle” first before entering the water. Shuffle your feet in the water to clear the area of any sea life, and they will simply swim away. When you have surveyed the area and are sure that it’s safe, you can swim freely with peace of mind.
Beware of rip currents
Rip currents are strong, localized currents of water that move directly away from the shore. If you are caught in a rip current while swimming, it won’t pull you underwater, but it can draw you farther away from the coast. If this happens, stay calm, keep afloat and tread away from the current, swimming parallel to the coastline. Once you’re out of the current, you can turn and swim towards the shore.
Assess the waves
Don’t swim if the ocean waves are too high or the wave patterns look unpredictable. Even if you are an excellent swimmer, you should set your limits and know when to play with the waves and when it might become unmanageable. If you want to play with waves, make sure you are only waist-deep in water and can jump over when the waves are near. Never turn your back on the waves, so you will see if a big one is coming.
Never dive headfirst in the water
Diving headfirst in water should never be done due to the high risk of spinal injuries from water collisions. Even professional divers who dive headfirst use their arms to break the water first. Never dive down in unknown areas where there might be underwater rocks and obstacles. Go to specific areas marked as a diving site. These areas are at least nine feet deep, a safe depth for diving.
Use floatation devices
For members of your group who are not good swimmers, it’s always best for them to wear any type of floatation device or have one on standby near the shore. Although lifeguards are present in beach resorts, having safety devices within easy reach could make a difference during emergencies. You can also bring a medical kit along on the beach, so you don’t need to run back inside the resort if someone needs it. Although lifeguards will usually have a first aid kit on their post, having more than one around is more prudent.
Never take your eyes off the children
Children can be more unpredictable than ocean waves. They should be closely supervised even when only playing in the sand near the shorelines. Children who are swimming cannot easily show signs of distress, especially when they are already panicking in the water. Always have an experienced swimmer near them to ensure safety.
Swim only during the daytime
It can be tempting to have a nice dip in the cold ocean water at night, but lifeguards are not always present during this time, and you are putting yourself at high risk. There is very low visibility in the ocean, and the outdoor resort lights may not be enough to see you when you get in trouble. Also, predatory animals move closer to shore at night, so it’s wiser to steer clear of the shorelines at this time.
Stay away from the water during bad weather conditions
The high waves may be tempting to surf in during the rainy weather, but it’s best to steer away from the ocean, especially if there’s a threat of a storm. Lightning often strikes in water, and the current will be very dangerous. Stay indoors during bad weather and avoid swimming immediately after the rain. The rain brings acid rain and increases contamination in the water due to urban runoff. You can put yourself at risk of developing gastrointestinal complications and ear infections.
Beach vacations are sources of beautiful memories, uplift the spirit, and keep the body healthy. But ocean behavior can be unpredictable, so it’s important to stay aware of the surroundings, be alert, follow resort rules, and take precautionary measures to prevent accidents. Make it a goal to ensure all family members learn to swim because it is a life skill that will be very beneficial to them.