We all love the beach! The combination of the sand, sun, and water makes for a great time! However; any type of beach could be dangerous. Beach-goers must be very careful and make sure that if they are going to swim, they pay attention to the flags in order to stay safe at the beach. These indicate that a certain beach has been patrolled. The basics that you need to know are as follows:
- Double red flags? The beach is closed. Do NOT get in the water.
- Single red flags (High hazard) mean that the surf is very rough, and there may be riptides. Swimming is not recommended.
- Yellow flags (Medium hazard) mean that there are some big waves but it is generally safe to swim.
- Green flags (low hazard) are an all systems go. The water is calm, but exercise caution. The ocean can change at any moment.
- Purple flags indicate the presence of dangerous marine life. Jellyfish or sharks are the primary offenders.
- Most importantly, never swim alone. If something happens to you and there is no one there to call for help, you could be in big trouble.
If you choose to disregard posted warnings, you are risking your life, and the lives of any rescuers that have to go and fetch you. Beach safety is not a joke. Rip currents can snatch you up and pull you away from the shore. Keep a watchful eye for these signs of a rip current:
- Sand getting stirred up off sea bed and debris being floated out to sea
- Water appearing dark which indicates deeper water
- Foam on a surface that extends beyond breakwaters
Sometimes you can’t help everything, and if you do happen to get caught in a rip current, you need to follow these guidelines.
- First and foremost! DO NOT try to swim back to shore. You will be fighting the power of the ocean, and she is most definitely stronger than you. If you exhaust yourself fighting the rip current, your chances of drowning increase exponentially.
- Swim parallel to the shore until you no longer feel the current pulling you away.
- Conserve your energy, you have no idea how long the rip current is – don’t feel like you have to swim as though you’re in the Olympics.
- Once you’re free of the rip current, make your way back towards shore.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll have a blast at the beach, and you won’t be putting yourself in danger unnecessarily.