Health Matters | Beach Safety Tips

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Beach Safety Tips

The warmer weather means fun in the sun at the beach! While you may remember to pack sunscreen, many forget to keep other important safety measures in mind! Check out these tips to ensure your day of leisure at the beach is a safe one:

General Safety:
Obey All Posted Signs: When you arrive at the beach, take note of any warnings or signs that pertain to the condition of the water. Look for flags flown by lifeguards to advise about dangerous water or weather conditions, and never swim in an area with a sign that says not to!

Always Check Weather Conditions: Be sure to check the weather for the day before heading out to the beach. Certain types of weather, such as heavy wind, may cause dangerous swimming conditions and other beach hazards.

Look For a Lifeguard: If able, swim near a lifeguard stand. If no lifeguard is on duty, exercise caution and be sure to swim with a buddy. Do not travel far out into the ocean, and exit the water if conditions are rough.

Swimming Safety:
Always Wear a Lifejacket: Young children or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a lifejacket of have a flotation device within reach. It is also helpful to have a swimming buddy around!

Never Dive: You should never dive head-first into the water, especially if you cannot see the bottom. Instead, always enter feet-first until you know the depth of the water.

Look for Aquatic Life: Keep an eye out for animal life in the water – and no, this doesn’t only mean sharks! Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for things like coral or sea urchins, which may result in cuts or injuries.

Rip Currents: Keep a close look-out for changes in water currents. Rip currents may appear in areas with low spots, breaks in sandbars, or near structures like piers and rocks. For this reason, beachgoers should only swim in safe areas or under the watch of a lifeguard. However, if you find yourself caught in a current, remember these tips:
  • Stay calm.
  • Swim parallel to the shore to get out of the current. Once you are free of the current you can swim back to the shore.
  • If you are unable to swim sideways, float or tread water until you are released by the current and can swim to the shore.
  • If you are unable to swim away, draw attention to yourself by calling out for help and waving your arms.
  • Avoid swimming near piers or rock formations, as currents may be disrupted in these areas. You should not swim within 100 feet of a pier.

Sun Safety:
Apply Sunscreen: Be sure to reapply sunscreen often when spending time outside. The CDC recommends you reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating. Don’t forget to cover your ears, nose, and back of the neck too!

Wear Protective Clothing: Wearing protective clothing can help prevent skin damage from the sun. Lightweight long sleeves or pants will guard you—don’t forget your sunglasses and a hat, too!

Stay Hydrated: Always keep a bottle of water nearby when you are spending time in the sun, as you need to replace the water your body loses through sweating. You may be tempted to open a can of soda, but water is the best option to help you stay hydrated.

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