Summertime has to be the best time of year. With the lovely weather, there couldn’t be a better time to go to the beach. If you and your family decide to go, be sure to keep these safety tips in mind. Before you go in the water, check to see if there’s a lifeguard nearby. And never go swimming alone, stay close to your friends or family, and don’t swim too far out (keep water below waist). You can further ensure your safety by keeping an eye out for these hidden dangers:

Rip Currents

Rip currents are when a body of water pulls you away from shore. If caught in a rip current, don’t panic. Try swimming parallel to shore, then swimming towards the beach. If that doesn’t work, float on your back and wave and yell for help. You can help someone in a rip current by telling them to stay calm, throwing them something that floats, and getting a lifeguard or calling 911. Never attempt to jump in the rip current and try to rescue them, unless you’re a trained emergency responder.

Lightning & Thunder

It’s never a good idea to go swimming during a thunderstorm. Lightning is made of electricity and travels from a cloud to the ground or the ground to a cloud. In short, water acts as a conductor, where lightning can flow freely on the surface of the water. Our skin has resistance against electricity, but once our skin gets wet, it loses its resistance. If someone gets struck by lightning, drag them inside the nearest building and call 911. The dispatcher might give you directions to perform CPR. 1 2 3 4

Sun Damage

When you’re going to the beach, don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun gives off rays of light called ultraviolet rays. For your body to protect itself from ultraviolet rays, the skin produces melanin (dark-skin has more melanin than light-skin). When you get excessive sunlight, you risk sunburns, blisters, and skin cancer from happening. Try to get a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more. You can also protect yourself from sunlight with an umbrella, hat, sunglasses, and by taking breaks. 5

Stingrays Near Shore

The beach is the number one place to watch your step. Stingrays are sea creatures that like to hide in the sand in shallow water. They go there to eat small fish, but people accidentally step on them. When this happens, the stingray stings in self-defense and swims away. As you’re going in the ocean, start to drag or shuffle your feet to scare away the stingray. If someone gets stung, soak the wound in hot water and call 911 or take them to the closest hospital as their sting is venomous. 6 7

Quicksand

Getting trapped in quicksand is no fun. If you ever find yourself in one, relax and slowly lean back. To get your legs out, gently wiggle your legs and pull out. From there, you can slowly crawl or roll out of the quicksand. If you see someone in quicksand, call the lifeguard or 911 and grab a stick or their arm to try to pull them out. You can keep everyone safe at the beach and prevent any possible injuries by telling the lifeguard where you spotted quicksand. 8

Harmful Algal Blooms

Plants not only grow on land but underwater as well. When algae has enough nutrients, they reproduce fast and release toxins. Their toxins make the water look foamy and smell stinky. The color of the water can also change to red, brown, orange, blue, or gold. If you get diarrhea, skin irritation, or vomit, report it to the lifeguard and call 911. If your dog was in the toxic water, rinse the dog with clean water and call your veterinarian. 9

Source(s):

  1. https://www.lehigh.edu/~amb4/wbi/kwardlow/conductivity.htm
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-electrocution-affects-the-body-2015-2
  3. https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/lightning/
  4. https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/faq/#:~:text=Cloud%2Dto%2Dground%20lightning%20comes,in%20a%20series%20of%20spurts.&text=When%20these%20two%20paths%20meet,back%20up%20to%20the%20sky.
  5. https://familydoctor.org/effects-early-sun-exposure/#:~:text=Too%20much%20sun%20exposure%20allows,%2C%20damage%2C%20or%20develop%20cancer.
  6. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/july15/sea-creatures-to-avoid.html#:~:text=Common%20throughout%20the%20Mid%2DAtlantic,on%20tiny%20fish%20and%20shellfish.
  7. https://www.poison.org/articles/how-to-prevent-and-treat-stingray-injuries-201
  8. https://www.earthdate.org/node/152
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/habs/general.html