Beach Safety Tips for Fun in the Sun

— Written By and last updated by Nancie MandevilleBeach Scene

We all looking forward to a relaxing vacation at the beach. Fortunately, we live near both North Carolina and South Carolina beaches. Each beach has something unique to offer. Wherever you decide to go, remember that safety should always come first.

It’s a good idea to discuss beach safety with everyone that is traveling with you. Some of the key items to talk about are:

  • Warning flags-Red=strong surf and currents, Yellow=moderate surf and currents, Green=calm and clear, Purple=dangerous sea life
  • Weather-Pay attention to the weather reports and check with the lifeguards for weather updates. Do not go on the beach if there is lightning in the forecast. Wait for a minimum of 30 minutes after the last thunder burst before going back out on the beach.
  • Know Your Level of Swimming Capabilities-Resist the temptation to go into the water if you are not a swimmer. Sometimes, rip currents can occur and sweep even those playing in shallow water out into the ocean.
  • Lifeguard– Swim close to the lifeguard area. Most drownings occur where there is no lifeguard present. From their high viewpoint, lifeguards can see things that swimmers cannot.
  • Rip Currents-Rip currents can pull even the strongest swimmers out into the ocean. Be aware if you see choppy off colored water extending from the shore, a rip current may be about to occur.
  • Waves-Strong waves have been known to seriously injure swimmers. Never put your back to waves. Also, ask your lifeguard about wave conditions.
  • Be Aware of Ocean Life – In recent years, we have heard more about shark attacks on our local beaches. Barnacles and shells of mussels and clams are sharp. Tiny crabs pinch, so beware.
  • Heat/Sun Stroke Prevention-The beach can be hot in the spring and summer, stay in the shade, under an umbrella. Stay hydrated with water and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Consumption of Alcohol of Drugs-Alcohol can cause dehydration and impair your ability to make sound decisions.
  • Recognizing a Swimmer in Distress-Pay attention to your surroundings. Someone can drown in two inches of water. Look out for swimmers whose heads are low in the water or tilted backward with mouth open or people who are trying to swim but are not being successful. They may look like they are fighting the water. Get help immediately if you see any of these signs.
  • Sunburn Prevention-Use sunscreen SPF 15 or higher. Wear a sun hat and use umbrellas. Eyes can burn also, so use sunglasses.
  • Wear Shoes– The beach is beautiful, however, exposed feet can be cut or pricked with glass, shells, needles, or other sharp objects. The sand also gets very hot.
  • Stay Hydrated– Drink plenty of water. Also, bring snacks. Exposure to the heat at the beach can cause disorientation and a loss of energy.

Written By

Cheri Bennett, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionCheri BennettNutrition Educator, Extension Program Assistant Call Cheri E-mail Cheri N.C. Cooperative Extension, Union County Center
Posted on May 14, 2019
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