You have planned for every outfit, dinner, car ride snack, game, and nap schedule.  Vacation is here!  STOP….Have you planned how to keep you and your children water safe?  Swimming in the ocean is very different from swimming at a pool.  Even if you are confident in your swimming skills, it is important to recognize this difference.  A relaxing day at the beach can turn into bad dream quickly.

Everyone needs to be aware of how dangerous rip currents are.  They are responsible for the most lifeguard rescues at the beach.  They can form in any large open water area; they often form at low spots or breaks in sand bars or near structures such as jetties or piers.  It is advised that you do not swim near these structures.  If you are caught in a rip current:Rip_Currents

  • Stay calm and do not fight the current.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.
  • If you cannot swim out of the current, float or tread water until you are free from it.
  • Once you are free of the current, swim diagonally to shore.
  • If you cannot swim to shore, draw attention to yourself to get help

The water at the beach is in constant motion, even if it looks calm.  The moving water can impair your visibility.  The most common beach action that can have a major impact is the waves.  No matter the size of the wave, it can impact your visibility and your ability to swim in water.

How many times were you startled by a piece of seaweed?  Though it is harmless, stay away from the marine plant life.  You could get tangled or it could distract you from watching for waves.  More importantly, stay away from the marine animal life.  Just like any other animal, marine animals are not always friendly.  Many of them can be extremely dangerous or poisonous. If you come across a deceased or injured animal, notify the lifeguard or beach authorities.

Water_safety_sign_Beach_closedYour planning will also affect your beach experience.  You should swim in areas designated and supervised by lifeguards.  Also it is important that you check the beach conditions and understand what the different precautions mean.  You should also check the weather conditions as they have an impact of the water.  Many don’t understand the importance of sunscreen.  This will protect your skin from the dangerous rays of the sun.  Yes a tan looks nice, but it isn’t worth risking your health.   It is important to stay hydrated!  Yes you are surrounded by water but you can still become dehydrated.  This can have a major impact on your ability to swim.  Make sure to continuously supervise children and go over beach safety with your family.

We all love those fun days at the beach with family or friends.  Remember that a poor planning or lack of awareness can quickly ruin your day.  Always check the conditions and obey the posted flags and signs.  If you are in doubt, check with a lifeguard.  These tips will help ensure that your next beach visit will be a safe and enjoyable experience.