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Beach Safety

Beach Safety

Beach season is here so make sure you play it safe at the beach.

First of all – learn to swim!  Take lessons if necessary and keep in mind that ocean swimming is very different from swimming in a pool.

Never swim alone and always swim in a lifeguarded area. Check the lifeguard station for weather and water conditions.

When packing that beach bag, be sure to have sunscreen, plenty of water (it’s important to stay hydrated in the heat), sunglasses, a hat is helpful as well, an umbrella so you can take a break from the sun, snacks and beach games or toys for the kids. 

It’s important that someone has an eye on the kids at all times.  Let us know if you need a “water watcher” bracelet and we will provide you with one.  The bracelet is worn by the adult assigned to watch kids for a certain period of time.  Maybe it’s 20 or 30 minutes.  At the end of that time, pass the bracelet on to the next person and they take over the job. That way you know that the kids always have someone watching out for them. 

Keep an eye out for hazards – here are some you may encounter.

Jellyfish stings can be pretty uncomfortable but usually not life-threatening. Seek out a lifeguard if you have been stung. You can drive jellyfish away by shuffling your feet in shallow waters. Wear shoes when walking the beach in case you encounter a stray jellyfish.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore that can pull swimmers out to sea.  Check with the lifeguard regarding rip currents. If you get caught in a rip current, don’t fight it!  Swim parallel to the shore until you feel you are out of the current and then swim back to shore. 

Too much heat can ruin a day at the beach. Sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke can require you to call 911 if things escalate. Stay hydrated and don’t get overheated.

See Also

Lightning is another outside hazard.  There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. When thunder roars, go indoors! The safest places during lightning activity are substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles. Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not really safe. Wait 30 minutes after the last thundercrack before returning to the beach.

Have a great summer and remember when you leave the beach, leave only your footprints!

POR: Cinda Seamon

Fire & Life Safety Educator, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue

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