5 Tips for Beach Safety This Summer
It’s that time of year again, and everyone is hitting the beach to soak up the summer sun. Before you start jumping the waves, it’s a good idea to brush up on these beach safety tips for the most enjoyable summer getaway. Understanding the risks involved with water safety can help prepare you and your family for a safer summer season.
Drowning Doesn’t Always Look Like Drowning – This article has been making the rounds on social media lately, and it reframes our entire mental picture of drowning. No, it’s not like in the movies — arms flailing, calling out for help, taking big gulps of water. In reality, it’s a much more silent and, as the article states, deceptively quiet affair.
Dr. Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., and Aviation Survival Technician Mario Vittone teamed up to write this article in On Scene, the journal for the U.S. Coast Guard, to help people spot the subtle signs of drowning, and why it doesn’t look like what’s portrayed in movies:
- Drowning people are physiologically unable to call for help. Our respiratory system was designed for breathing – so when that function is blocked, everything else takes a secondary backseat. Speech isn’t as important, and only until we can breathe do we feel safe to yell, scream or talk.
- Their mouths sink below and reappear above the surface. Drowning people’s mouths are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, or call for help. When they do break the surface, they exhale and inhale as quickly as possible before their mouths sink again.
- They cannot wave for help. Contrary to all the dramatic movie and TV scenes, drowning people are unable to physically wave for help. Nature instinctively forces their arms to extend laterally and press down on the water’s surface, in an effort to leverage their bodies and try to lift their mouths out of the water.
- Drowning people can only struggle for 20 to 60 seconds. Their bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these people can only struggle for less than or up to a minute on the surface of the water before submersion occurs.
Sunburns – We get it, we really do. You want that glowing, summer tan. But at what cost? Bringing a bottle of sunscreen with you will help you gauge just how tan (or red) you’re willing to be But did you know many sunscreen brands are toxic to animals and marine life? Sunscreen is notorious for washing off in the water and inadvertently injuring wildlife due to high oxybenzone levels — which is toxic to algae, sea urchins, fish, and mammals. Try choosing a safer, less toxic brand of sunscreen or opt for sun clothes (like long-sleeved shirts), designed specifically to reduce UV exposure.
Leave No Trace – It’s a common summer camp motto, but it’s also great life advice: “Leave your space cleaner than how you found it.” Most public beaches, pools, parks, and campsites don’t allow glass bottles or containers due to the increased hazard, so be sure to pack sustainable, reusable containers for all your go-to outdoor needs. Not only will you help beautify your own community, but you will also be protecting local wildlife at the same time! Keep in mind that straws should be a no-go if possible, and always snip the six-pack rings on your sodas before throwing them in the trash. Recycle when you can and know that you’re doing your part to make the next visitor’s beach experience just as enjoyable as yours was.
Lock Your Car – This is common sense, but any time you’re in a public setting, be sure to lock your car and remove any valuables from inside. Another thing to think about is the rising temps — don’t leave anything in your car that might melt in the hot summer sun!
Drink Plenty of Water – It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re surrounded by it all day. But this is precisely when you need it the most! Stay hydrated by bringing your own cooler and enjoying ice-cold water. You can also get plenty of H20 from fresh veggies and fruit but be careful to not overdo it on the sugar content. The most important thing to remember is to drink water BEFORE you start to feel thirsty — by then, you’re already parched. And although enjoying an alcoholic drink on the beach is a longtime vacation staple, be careful and don’t overdo it, and rehydrate with good, old-fashioned water in between cocktails.
Use these tips for a safe, fun-filled summer on the water and come back refreshed! Learn more about how CIG has been protecting families and communities since 1898.