“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The beach is fun, beach vacations are fun, but accidents happen. Accidents are more likely to happen if you forgot to pack your brain for your holiday.   The beach has so many health benefits, but there are so many dangers that come along with the benefits.

Here are 12 tips for beach safety.

1. Learn to swim 

Teach children to swim early.  Swim with other people who know how to swim.  This will prevent future tragedies.  Children who cannot swim or tired children should wear life jackets. 

2. Swim near a lifeguard

Consider sticking to monitored beaches. Accidents can happen so fast. Riptides are easy to miss if you aren’t trained to see them. Lifeguards know the area, they know the dangers.

3.  Read any signage and rules for each beach

Every beach has different beach rules, every beach has different dangers. Most beaches use a bright and easy-to-understand signage system that governs access to swimming.  It’s basically the same traffic light that you teach kids. 

  • Green flag: supervised swimming, no particular danger;
  • Yellow or orange flag: dangerous but supervised swimming;
  • Red flag: prohibition of bathing and / or engaging in nautical activities.
  • Purple flags: Sting rays, jellyfish or other dangerous marine life.

4. Swim with a buddy

The principle is simple: team up with a partner, bring a friend.. Everyone will be able to count on an ally in the event of a problem. Dive buddies and pool buddies are very important too!  

5.  Wear sandals or shoes

This will prevent you from stepping on an oyster shell, a coral, or glass that could lead you directly to the emergency room. Scan the area where children are barefoot for any potential dangers.

6.  Wear sunblock

A few moments in the sun unprotected will give you a good shot of Vitamin D, but more than this will give you a sunburn, even on cloudy days.  There are so many reef safe and ocean friendly sunscreens on the market.  We prefer mineral sunblocks, but you know your skin. 

For children, a hat, T-shirt or rashguard, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high protection spf are essential. And for the whole family, we do not forget an umbrella!

7.  Don’t drink too much

Having a drink in the sun is awesome, but alcohol can dehydrate you easily or put you in dangerous situations.  Just watch yourself, you know your limits.

8. Keep an eye on children and define a play area

If your kids are toddlers or bigger, define a play area and keep a good eye on your children. If you go with a group of people, take turns watching the children. You seriously can’t take your eyes off kids for a second.

9.  Put safety bracelets on toddlers

We haven’t done this, but we have friends who swear by the Safety Turtle bracelets. These safety bracelets are designed for warning children as soon as the wearer is immersed in water. It is a useful gadget to prevent the worst and ensure that you intervene in time if a toddler escapes your supervision.

10. Take a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class

Knowing the maneuvers to perform to restore blood circulation in a person with a cardiac arrest can make all the difference in the event of drama. The few hours you dedicate to refreshing your first aid knowledge could save your life or a loved one’s life.

11.  Drink water

Stay hydrated. I’ve written extensively on this. It’s so hot out there, drink plenty of water.  Oh and bring a water bowl for your beach dogs.

12.  Enter water feet first

Save the fancy dives for the pool.  Walk into the water and shuffle your feet to chase away sting rays.  Diving head first can cause neck injuries and serious lifelong injuries.  

Using some simple common sense and general water safety guidelines, you can prevent so much tragedy.  I’m not going to scare you with statistics and numbers, we’ve all seen them – just stay safe friends.