In the summertime, packing your bags in the car and heading out to the beach is a familiar past time. Building sandcastles on the sand, surfing in the riptide, and enjoying soft serve cones on the boardwalk are all important rites of passage. However, while the beach provides an ideal location to visit on a sweltering summer afternoon, it also poses a multitude of risks for those who fail to take proper safety precautions.
Here are our tips for staying safe at the beach that will ensure you only have fun in the sun:
Check the Weather
If you’re driving a significant distance from your home to head to the beach, it’s wise to check the forecast for your destination. Ensure that there are no traveling thunderstorms that could make their way over to your location, as being anywhere near water when there is lightning striking is immensely dangerous.
Find some Shade
Nobody enjoys going to the beach on an overcast day, however, although the sun is warm and mood enhancing, it’s imperative that you don’t spend too much time in it. The first step to proper sun safety is applying sunscreen to yourself and any children before you even exit the car. With all the excitement of the beach, sunscreen application can be easily forgotten. It’s not uncommon for individuals who forego sunscreen to end up with symptoms of sunburn or sunstroke such as swelling, blisters, fever, chills, nausea, headache, or overall bodily weakness. Unchecked sun exposure can cause third-degree burns in some cases, so it’s vital to be mindful of the dangers and find some shade.
Expert tip: Another tried and true method to combat the negative effects of excessive sun exposure is to stay hydrated. So make sure to pack ice cold water bottles in your beach bag!
Swim with Caution
Swimming at the local pool is one thing. You have smooth tiled floors, still waters, and a lifeguard but metres away. However, swimming at the beach requires much more intense concentration. If the water is choppy and you aren’t a strong swimmer, opt to participate in beach sports instead until the waves die down. Strong waves can cause serious injuries, such as broken bones, dislocated shoulders, and in some cases, spinal cord injuries and blunt organ trauma. When you are ready to get in the water, swim along the shore instead of towards the horizon, as the lake or ocean floor can drop off dramatically and leave you unable to touch the bottom, fatigued, and far from the shore. Furthermore, try to swim near the lifeguard station – as most drowning accidents occur in unguarded areas.
Beach outings are the ultimate weekend getaway activity, whether you’re simply looking to relax your mind with the sounds of waves hitting the shore, or get your adrenaline pumping with high-octane beach and water sports. By taking precautions beforehand and educating yourself and your loved ones about the risk factors of the beach, you can ensure that your trip is injury free.
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