Summer is in full swing and beach days are upon us. Whether you live near the beach or plan to have a beach vacation, there are many things to keep in mind when spending time at the beach. Taking several safety precautions when enjoying the beach will help prevent injury or death in relation to the water and weather.

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The Elements


Sun

Most likely if you are going to the beach, it will be on a day when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm. Being exposed to sunlight without proper protection can result in sunburns and potentially skin cancer. According to the Sun Safety Alliance, children can get three times more sun exposure than adults. Even one very bad sunburn can double a child’s risk of developing skin cancer.

You can still get sunburned on a cloudy day. Continue to wear sunscreen even if it is overcast.

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Wear a high SPF sunscreen and continue to reapply through the day. Apply evenly and cover all exposed areas of skin including neck, ears, and lips.

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Utilize a source of shade such as an umbrella or canopy tent throughout the day. Click here to see a list of the best baby beach tents.

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Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.

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Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day

Lightning

Being in close proximity to water poses a safety issue when lightning strikes. When you begin to hear thunder, you are most likely within striking distance of lightning. Do not wait to go indoors when a thunderstorm is approaching, even if there are still blue skies and sunlight.

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When lightning is in the vicinity it is imperative that you immediately leave the area and seek shelter.

The Marine Life


Oceanic creatures will be all around us when entering the water. The ocean is their home, and it is important to respect their environment. We do not want to disturb or cause injury to marine life, but if we encounter certain animals that can cause injury to us, it is important to understand the proper ways to protect ourselves.

Sharks

Although movies like “Jaws” characterize sharks as violent, human eating creatures, in reality, sharks are more fearful of people and the risk of being bit by one is very small. However, beach goers should remain aware of sharks and learn what to do if they come into contact with one.

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Stay out of the water if you have an open wound. Sharks are attracted to the smell of blood.

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Don’t go in the water alone. Sharks are more likely to attack a person in the water alone than a group of people.

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Don’t wear jewelry. Sharks can mistake shiny jewelry for fish scales.

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Avoid swimming at dusk and dawn. Sharks are doing most of their hunting for food during dusk and dawn.

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Don’t swim in an area where people are fishing. Fishermen use chum and bait to attract sharks.

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Avoid excessive splashing. Sharks may confuse splashing for moving prey.

Stingrays

Stingrays are relatively harmless, however they have a long tail that is razor sharp with serrated barbs at the end that they use for defense. Stingrays will flick their tail upward if they feel threatened and could penetrate the skin if stepped on and release a venom. If stung, control the bleeding and have a medical professional remove the barb.

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Shuffle your feet on the sand as you enter the water to avoid stepping on a sting ray.

Jellyfish

There are many different species of jellyfish. Jellyfish have tentacles that irritate the skin of a person that comes into contact with them. Individuals with severe allergic reactions from a jellyfish sting could go into anaphylactic shock and should seek immediate medical attention.

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Jellyfish can still be alive and sting even if they are washed up on shore.
Urinating on the affected area to help alleviate the pain of the sting is a myth. Pour vinegar on the sting to neutralize it.

The Ocean


Rip Currents

The ocean is a very powerful entity. Don’t be fooled by calm, flat waters. Rip currents could be all around you. A rip current is a very strong current that pulls the water and anything in it out towards the deep waters, away from the shore. A rip current is a major hazard for anyone not familiar with its force. Many people caught in a rip current will attempt to swim straight in to shore, expelling a majority of their energy. As they begin to panic from not making any forward progress, they become fatigued and drift further and further out to sea.

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When caught in a rip current, it is imperative to swim parallel to the shore line until you are out of the current and then swim into shore.

Rough Surf

If there are not rip currents in the area, there is still a danger of rough surf. Repeatedly getting hit by strong waves can cause a swimmer to get tired and have difficulty making it in to shore.

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It is recommended that you remain waist deep and in an area where you can always stand.

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Never let your child enter the water alone. An adult should always accompany a child.

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Use caution when taking a float into the ocean. It is easy to become unaware of the depth when on a float. Additionally, being on top of the water makes it easier to be moved by wind and pull you further out.
For a list of essentials for your day at the beach, check out The Hottest Items For This Beach Season.

Sources: Sun Safety Tips, Lightning Safety, Shark Safety Tips, Stingrays 101

Photo Credit: Pixabay