A day at the beach can quickly turn disastrous if you don’t take proper safety precautions. Beachgoers can keep themselves out of harm’s way by following a few simple rules. Here are some general safety tips for almost every beach.

 

Check the Weather Beforehand

Before heading to the beach, you should check the weather to make sure that no thunder and lightning storms or other adverse weather events are in the forecast. If you hear thunder, it’s best to wait until at least 30 minutes after the last thunder boom to swim. Also, it’s best to clear the beach entirely until storms pass. Some weather forecasts also provide information on the current water temperatures. This helps you figure out if the water is too cold for safe swimming.

 

Avoid Rip Currents

Rip currents can be powerful and deadly when they pull swimmers away from the shore. Once you get to the beach, check for any warning flags before swimming in the water. Swimming closer than 100 feet from piers and jetties should also be avoided since rip currents often form around these areas. Anyone who gets caught in a rip current should swim parallel to the shore to try to free themselves from the current. It’s always a great idea to alert someone the area in which you will be swimming and when you intend on returning.

 

Beware of Sharks

Even though there are only around 50 to 70 shark attacks worldwide each year, beachgoers should still exercise caution while swimming in the ocean. A shark might mistake a person or their flotation device for prey and launch an attack. To lessen the chances of being bitten by a shark, it’s advisable to avoid wearing shiny jewelry or swimming at dusk.

 

Be Mindful of Sun Dangers

UV rays from the sun can cause sunburns and increase your chances of developing skin cancer. The sun can also cause temperatures on the beach to rise to dangerously hot levels. This puts beachgoers at risk for dehydration and heatstroke. Midday sun is more intense should be avoided as much as possible. Wearing a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 is recommended. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated while at the beach. Make sure you also avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can cause dehydration.

 

Going to the beach can be a safer, more enjoyable experience if safety is prioritized. Keeping these precautions in mind can help limit dangers.