“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few are sandy.” — John Muir
There is nothing better than waking up to the sun breaking over the ocean waves, salty air, and the promise of a clear, warm day. The beach is a great place to disconnect from everyday life and appreciate the wonder and immensity of the ocean.
If your family is planning a trip to the beach this summer, there are a few things you need to know.
- Learn to swim
Swimming in the ocean is different from swimming in a body of still water. Learn to swim before going into the ocean.
- Protect weak swimmers
The American Red Cross recommends that families have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and around the water, and that no one should use any other type of flotation device unless he or she can swim.
- Know your abilities
Even if you are a strong swimmer, be aware of your energy levels. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore. Also, be aware of the ocean’s tendency to move you, and pay attention to changes in depth. Don’t go anywhere your strength and physical abilities can’t handle.
- Don’t dive head-first
The American Red Cross says every swimmer should check for depth and obstructions before diving head-first into the water to protect your neck. Go in feet-first the first time.
- Pay attention
Paying close attention to children and elderly people at the beach is important because even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing, according to the American Red Cross.
Other important safety tips:
- Don’t turn your back to the ocean
- Always swim with a buddy
- Don’t swim in the dark
- Don’t swim too close to piers or rocks
- Learn rip current safety
- Don’t swim after a heavy rain––The ocean is most polluted from storm water
- Keep a lookout for aquatic life and beware of jellyfish
The American Red Cross advises beachgoers to avoid patches of plants and to leave animals alone because some water plants and animals are dangerous.
Tips on dry land:
- Wear sunscreen, you can still burn on cloudy days
- Take an umbrella or sun tent for occasional breaks from the sun
- Drink lots of water
- Beware of hot sand––wear flip-flops or shoes to protect your feet from the hot sand
- Keep your flip-flops out of the sun, they can get very hot to
- Protect your food––Use baggies or containers to keep your food from getting sandy.
- Use available trashcans, or take trash with you
- Avoid feeding the seagulls, unless you want the birds around your family’s spot all day
- Prevent sand flea bites––Check out net for tips on avoiding and treating sand flea bites
- Watch for seashells and wear sandals or shoes if you take a beach walk
The magic of creating sand castles, the surprise of dolphins making a graceful appearance, the pleasure of collecting seashells––such experiences make beaches great vacation spots.
Just be safe when you get there!