Safety Tips for Beachgoers

If you're reading this blog post you're probably ready to pack your swim suit, flip-flops, a beach chair, sunscreen and a good magazine and head for the beach. Nothing is better than a great family vacation at the beach, where you can set the daily worries aside, get some sand between your toes and work on your tan to become the envy of the team when you get back at the office.

While enjoying blissful hours on the beach, you should still pay attention to a few important things related to the safety and well being of yourself and your family.

Kids in the water

Swimming safety tips

  • Swimming in the ocean takes different skills that swimming in the pool, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf.
  • Swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach, within the designated swimming area. Follow all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone.
  • Never venture too far. Even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Lifeguard flag warning system

The United States Lifesaving Association, in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation, has developed a flag warning system that has been adopted by all coastal communities to notify vacationers of potential water hazards. Understanding and heeding these colored flags keeps you safe in the water and helps you enjoy your vacation at the beach.
  • Green flag - the treat of danger is low and you are safe to swim. Exercise caution in the ocean, though, and always keep an eye on children.
  • Yellow flag - lifeguard on duty. The ocean conditions are rough but not life threatening. Exercise extreme caution due to the potentially high surf or dangerous currents and undertows. If you're not a strong swimmer you may want to wear a life jacket while venturing out. Some beaches have a permanent yellow flag because of rocks, a sudden drop-off or a high population of bait fish that attracts predators.
  • Red Flag - no swimming allowed. The surf is high, there are dangerous currents, or both. A red flag also means there might be other hazardous things in the water so don't make assumptions and check with the lifeguard.
  • Blue or purple flag - raised when potentially dangerous ocean animals like sharks, jellyfish, and other dangerous marine life have been spotted. Exercise extreme cautions and look out for dangerous marine life if the water is not closed for swimming.
Lifeguard in action

Generic beach safety tips

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers use approved flotation devices while in the water. Ask before you purchase such devices from the local stores near the beach. Chances are the merchandise in the stores is safe but it never hurts to double-check.
  • Don’t dive headfirst. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Patches of dark clouds moving fast across the sky are common in the summer. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from where it's raining. As soon as you hear thunder, leave the beach and take shelter in an enclosed vehicle or building. Stay off the beach for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
  • Wear water shoes to protect your feet from sand burn, glass or other sharp objects.

Sun protection tips

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen often. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or toweling off.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Protect the eyes against the UV radiation  by wearing sunglasses. 
  • Wearing a hat. Wide  brim hat provides the best sun protection possible.
Sun Protection

Surfing safety tips

Following these tips will get you ready for some awesome times on the water:
  • Surf with a buddy. You never know when something may happen. A surfing buddy can also help you with your technique.
  • Don't fight the current and signal for help if you get in trouble. Always aid to fellow surfers or swimmers if they encounter troubles in the water.
  • Get certified in CPR and Basic First Aid. These skills might save a life.
  • Leash your surfboard. This will allow you to keep it from becoming a hazard to other surfers.
  • Follow the local rules regarding surf zones, surfing near jetties and piers, etc. Check with the lifeguard for details before you enter the water.
  • Never surf in conditions above your ability level. If you are uncomfortable your increase the risk of injury.

Rip currents safety tips

Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
  • If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore. 
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.Throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.

Rip tide educational video:

Follow the golden rule while at the beach: "always ask a lifeguard about ocean water conditions before heading for the waves." With a few safety precautions you and your family will be able to enjoy your vacation and build wonderful lifetime memories. We invite you to give North Myrtle Beach a try. Choose the perfect oceanfront vacation home from our large selection here, enjoy the white sands and the waves and most of all, have a safe wonderful summer at the beach!

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