There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a dip in the ocean on a warm summer day. Studies have found that both sea air and ocean water can have positive effects on our moods and our health. The natural minerals found in our oceans are great for our skin. But with all of these benefits of a day at the beach, there are some dangers as well. It’s important to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of the ocean so you can enjoy your day at the beach. Explore water safety tips for the beach below.

Ocean Swimming Basics

The ocean is an unpredictable environment. You need much stronger swimming skills for the ocean than for a pool. Never swim alone even if you are an experienced swimmer. Three things you must know before entering the ocean:

  • Where to swim. Stay close to shore so you can be seen and rescued quickly if needed.
  • When to swim. Avoid swimming at dawn or dusk as visibility is lower and marine animals, including sharks, move closer to shore during the evening.
  • What to do during severe weather. Avoid the water during severe weather. Leave the water immediately if you see lightning or hear thunder.

Be Aware of Hazards

Swimming in the ocean requires a bit more skill than swimming in a pool or lake. Be aware of the potential hazards before entering the water.

  • Changing tides & fast moving currents. Even in shallow water, the changing tides and fast moving currents can knock you off your feet.
  • Waves. Waves can be more powerful than you think. Dive under the wave before it breaks. Never turn your back to the ocean when you’re in the water. Rogue waves or undertow can happen at a moment’s notice.
  • Changes in water depth. The ocean is full of sand bars and unexpected drop offs that can change the water from waist deep to over your head in just a couple of steps.
  • Underwater hazards. Be cautious of underwater hazards that you may not be able to see – rocks, debris and coral can all cause painful injuries.
  • Marine animals, fish & vegetation. Jellyfish, sharks, Portuguese man-of-war, sea urchins and other marine animals can be anywhere in the ocean. Know how to treat injuries and stings from these animals. Underwater vegetation can easily get wrapped around your arms or legs making it difficult to swim.
  • Other people. Be aware of other people in the ocean. A boater may not be able to see you in the water. Be aware of your surroundings and those around you.

Children & The Ocean

Children require constant attention while near the ocean. Accidents can happen quickly and often before you even realize there is a problem.

  • Supervision. Always supervise children in and near the water. Supervision means constant visual contact, not the occasional glance. Avoid distractions such as phone calls, reading, etc. while supervising children near the water.
  • Never allow children in the water alone. Even if your child knows how to swim, the ocean can be too unpredictable. Always have an adult who is a strong swimmer in the water with young children and older children should always use the buddy system.
  • Teach children about the ocean. Talk to them about the dangers of the ocean and teach them the basics of rip currents and how to escape them, never to turn their back on the ocean and how to swim in waves.

While this may seem like a lot, you can never be too careful on the beach. A bit of preparation and knowledge can ensure that your next day at the beach is a safe, happy one!

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