Summer Is Here and Beaches are Near: Beach Safety

Did you know that sand beaches account for 1100 of Florida’s 1800 miles of coastline… or, Beach-Safetythat wherever you go in Florida you are never more than 60 miles from a beach?

Florida offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country so why not take advantage of them? The beach is a destination that offers entertainment for people of all ages but, can also be dangerous.  By being safe and respectful towards both the environment and the people around you, you will have a safe, stress free day.  Here are a few tips that will ensure that you have an enjoyable trip.

First, before you even head to the beach is it important to lather on the sunscreen. The American Red Cross recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes prior to your planned arrival as well as reapplying often (especially after leaving the water).

Once you get to the beach it is important to find a lifeguard tower and set up near it (always remember to bring an umbrella or a shade device to have a ready respite from the sun).  Setting up by a lifeguard tower is important as it puts you closer to the lifeguard in the event of an emergency and it allows you to see the flags that relate to the water conditions. Also, when setting up your beach blanket you should respectfully give others ten to fifteen feet of room so they are not disturbed.  It is always fun to listen to the music that you like but you should resist the urge to bring a stereo. Blasting your music can disturb other people as well as distract the lifeguards.

In the water, it is important to stay safe by always being aware of your surroundings.  The biggest danger at the beach are rip currents which are strong channels of water that drag swimmers far out to sea.  Rip currents can be avoided by watching for a sudden color change of the water from blue to brown which is caused by the sudden ripping up of sediment off the ocean floor.  If you cannot avoid it and are sucked up by a rip current it is important to not panic and swim parallel to the shoreline until you are free of the current. It is important to not fight the current as doing so will only tire you out and put you at risk of drowning.

Another important safety tip is to protect your neck and back by not diving headfirst into the water off the shoreline.  The depth of the water at the beach is constantly changing and you can never be assured that the water is a safe depth to dive.  Additionally do not attempt to jump feet first into the water from great heights as the tides can change the depth of the water rapidly or you could be unknowingly jumping onto a shallow sand bar.

Going to the beach is a great place to take your children and have some family fun.  By being aware of and following a few safety precautions, you can ensure that everyone has a good time, returning home happy and healthy.

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