7 tips for a safe day at the beach

March 2, 2017

iStock-512214086.jpgAre sand and surf your favorite turf? If so, you're probably planning your next trip to the shore. To helpkeep the beach bunnies and surfer dudes in your circle safe:

1. Make sure everyone knows how to swim in the sea—it's different from swimming in a pool.

2. Outfit each young child and inexperienced swimmer with a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

3. Check the weather report before you head to the beach. Then, at the beach, listen up. At the first crack of thunder, get everyone out of the water. Head to a building or your car. If no shelter is available, look for the lowest spot that's not in an open area. Don't sit under an umbrella, and avoid metal objects like aluminum chairs.

4. Swim only where—and when—there's a lifeguard on duty.

5. Be sure to always obey the lifeguard—and any posted warnings about dangerous conditions.

6. Keep an eye out for rip currents. These dangerous, fast-moving waters—which can pull even a strong swimmer out to sea—account for about 80 percent of the rescues lifeguards perform at surf beaches.

Look for rip currents near jetties, piers, and breaks in sandbars. Telltale signs: choppy, churning water; a difference in the water's color; a line of seaweed or foam moving out to sea; a break in the pattern of incoming waves. Note those as unsafe spots to swim—and steer clear.

7. Always enter the ocean feet first. And before diving, check the water's depth and make sure there are no hidden objects.

With safety in mind, you're ready to hit the beach. Surf's up, everybody!

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