Beach Safety

By LL Editorial Staff

Never underestimate the power of the ocean. Every year there are tragic accidents, which might otherwise have been avoided, taking place on beaches around the world. Whether you are frolicking in the waves of Southern California or doing some serious swimming in the blue waters of the Caribbean, having knowledge of how to keep water safe will come in handy.

Wave Photograph

First of all it is important that you learn to swim and that you never swim alone. If at all possible, stay near a lifeguard station and do not rely on flotation devices, such as rafts or arm floaties, to keep you afloat. Young children need to be supervised and monitored at all times, regardless of whether a lifeguard is present. And, just like driving, drinking and swimming donít mix so save the beer and wine for another time. Some other useful tips include:
  • Jumping in the water feet first rather than head first. This will avoid any head, neck or spinal injuries should the water prove to be shallow.
  • If you feel you are in trouble, do not be embarrassed to wave or yell for help.
  • If you want to swim long distances, make sure you do so parallel to the shoreline.
  • Be careful when walking on coastal bluffs, tide pool areas or jetties. Large waves can sweep you off your feet and often come without warning, so keep your eyes fixed on the water.
  • Do yourself and others a favor by reporting dangerous conditions to lifeguards or other beach management.

  • Lifeguard

    Some regions are prone to riptide conditions, which can leave swimmers extremely vulnerable. These strong currents pull swimmers away from the beach. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, swim sideways and not against the currentís pull. Once you feel free from the riptide, make your way to the shoreline. Sometimes a rip current can carry you several yards away from where you started. Itís always wise to inquire about conditions before you enter the ocean.

    Two Girls Wearing Sunglasses

    The unpredictability of the ocean isnít the only hazard you will encounter at the beach. The sun can do some serious damage as well, so you will want to protect your skin from its powerful rays. If at all possible, limit your beach and pool time between 10am and 2pm when the sun is at its strongest. Always wear sunscreen with a high SPF count and reapply liberally after swimming or every couple of hours. A good pair of sunglasses and a hat can protect both your eyes and face from any sun damage. And, just because itís overcast, donít trick yourself into thinking the sunís rays have no effect. Sometimes the worse sunburns occur on cloudy days simply because no sun protection was applied. Finally, be sure to talk to your physician about any medications you may be taking that could cause an adverse reaction due to sun exposure.

    With frolics in the ocean, sand between your toes, and adventure to be had both on land and sea, there is no argument that life is a beach. But before you dive into the action, be sure you are familiar with your surroundings. Locate the nearest lifeguard station, become familiar with the current surf conditions, keep both eyes on young children and, most importantly, lather on that sunscreen so you donít have to slather your burnt skin with aloe vera in the evening.