Summer is here and it’s time to hit the beach. Before you arrive, read through these safety tips so everyone has fun and avoids problems.
Take Swimming Lessons
According to the CDC, about ten people drown in the U.S. every day and two of the ten are children under 14 years old. Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning, so send the kids for lessons and learn to swim yourself if you don’t know how. The USA Swimming Foundation offers a searchable database to help you find swimming lessons near you.
Young or inexperienced swimmers should use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket until they master their skills.
Choose a Guarded Beach
According to United States Lifesaving Association statistics, the chances of drowning falls by as much as 80 percent when there’s a lifeguard on duty.
Ensure there’s someone in the water with the swimmer or someone on shore watching while they swim. Even if the person can’t save the swimmer, they can signal for help, throw them a flotation device, or call 9-1-1.
Heed Signs & Flags
Not all beaches have signs or flags, but if they do, heed their warnings. They clue you into local regulations and potential dangers.
Flag colors may include green for low hazard, yellow indicates caution, and red indicates high hazard. Some beaches also use a purple flag to indicate dangerous marine life and a no swimming flag, too.
It’s tempting to dive head first into the water on a hot summer day, but diving into unknown water can cause a serious neck injury. Walk in, test the depth, check for obstructions, and then feel free to dive in for a dip.
Keep an eye on the elderly and children as they walk into the water, too. Even shallow water can have waves that can knock them off balance.
Alcohol and the beach don’t mix. It impairs judgement and dehydrates the body. Instead, drink plenty of water and eat regularly. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply after swimming and throughout the day.
Wear a Lifejacket on Watercraft
About 80 percent of boating fatalities are due to drowning. No one expects they’ll end up in the water, and children are especially susceptible. Wearing a lifejacket while on any watercraft is law in many states, but it’s wise to wear one even if it isn’t.
Avoid Rip Currents
Rip currents form when surf pushes water up the beach and then gravity pulls the water back. They can also form near jetties and piers. They are strong and can drag a person offshore.
If you’re caught in a rip current, stay relaxed, don’t fight the current, and swim parallel to the shore. Eventually, you should be able to swim back to safety. If you tire, float on your back or tread water and wave to draw attention to yourself.
Watch the Weather
The weather can change quickly and you don’t want to be in the water during a summer storm. In addition to rough waters, water conducts electricity and a lightning strike could injure or kill a swimmer.
If you’re planning on driving to the beach, take a few minutes and review your auto insurance coverage. State minimums do not provide adequate coverage and an insurance review with your agent only takes a few minutes. We want you to stay safe while traveling and at the beach too.