Staying Safe At The Beach And Waterside Vacations

Updated: December 23, 2020 | Contains affiliate links

La Jolla Shores coastline thumbnailWater-based vacations are top of the list for the types of breaks Americans will be taking in 2021, with more than 60% of internet searches involving beach or island destinations. On a global level, water adventure tourism is also gaining popularity due to the increasing desire to do something different, better tech in equipment, and improved disposable income. The main issue that affects the experience of a waterside holiday is the assurance of safety to enhance enjoyment and satisfaction. By taking the right precautions, injuries and accidents are avoided while on a vacation near the water. Let’s take a look at 5 simple principles for staying safe at the beach and near the water’s edge.

1. Follow Posted Rules And Signs

Staying safe at the beach is critical to a great vacation
Staying safe at the beach is critical to a great vacation

Safety at the beach starts by reading any safety signs that are already posted. If you’re on or near a body of water, it’s important that you learn to find, read and follow the posted signs and flags. Even though there may be lifeguards or beach patrols on duty, knowing the beach rules is vital in ensuring your safety. For example, green flags mean that conditions are calm, while red signifies high hazards currents. The presence of jellyfish, stingrays, or dangerous fish are indicated by the purple flag. It also helps to talk to the locals to check the conditions of the sea, river or lake you’re visiting, and to obtain insider tips on where to swim safely.
Equally, there are also rules that apply while on the sand. Teach children not to get in the water alone, even if they are good swimmers. While playing on the sand, tides change, and small children might unknowingly find themselves surrounded by water. Therefore, supervising them closely is crucial to preventing accidents.

2. Learn To Swim

Knowing how to swim is crucial to enjoying snorkeling and the beach at Hanauma Bay in Oahu
Knowing how to swim is crucial to enjoying snorkeling and the beach at Hanauma Bay in Oahu
See my photos from Hanauma Bay

Secondly, learning how to swim, while it requires determination, is equally crucial to staying safe at the beach and near waters edge. Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Unintentional drowning can happen at any time, so water safety should focus on instilling confidence while in the water and recognizing the forces of nature. By knowing how to swim, drowning injuries and fatalities are minimized.

In addition to lowering risks and threats, learning to swim offers many benefits such as improved heart and lung function, enhanced strength, flexibility and balance, and confidence. It also promotes enjoyment of the water. Above all, learning to swim can save your life and that of others when you’re in perilous water conditions. Research among 1 to 4-year old kids shows that participation in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning by 88%.

3. Know What To Do At the Beach

Lots of people enjoying the Santa Monica Beach and Pier
Lots of people enjoying the Santa Monica Beach and Pier
See my photos from Santa Monica

Learning to recognize a rip tide, which is a strong current that moves quickly under the water, is also a critical part of staying safe at the beach. You can identify a rip tide if you see that waves are not breaking, spot foam at the beach, or find seaweed being pulled from the seashore. If you’re caught in a rip tide, the best strategy to avoid being swept away very quickly from the shore is to swim in parallel back to the beach, instead of moving in a straight line.

If swimming in unknown waters, enter with the feet first instead of diving. Watch out for hazards such as boats, ships and other types of watercraft, and rocks and debris. If you get into trouble, make yourself visible by waving your arms and shout for help. In case you see someone drowning, alert a lifeguard or call emergency services.

Going on a beach or waterside vacation is fun and relaxing. To avoid injuries, accidents and fatalities, it is critical that you follow local warning signs and regulations, know how to swim, and learn what to do in emergency situations.

4. Stay Off the Rocks During High Tide

Tourists at the edge of jagged rocks at La Jolla California
Tourists at the edge of jagged rocks at La Jolla California
See my photos from La Jolla

Coastal areas are especially attractive for their beautiful vistas at the intersection of land and water. When rocks jut into the water and powerful waves crash against them, it gives birth to tide pools and stunning beauty. However, being cautious about the edges of the rocks and staying safely away goes a long way in staying safe at the beach.

It is these rocks, especially their edges that are dangerous at high tide in particular. As the tide changes and gets higher the waves reach higher and higher and with more force. Tourists are attracted to the natural beauty where the wave crash’s against the rocks and they venture right on the edge of the rocks. As waves reach higher, they can easily sweep unprepared tourists and drag them out to sea or smash them against the rock. This can cause serious injury and even death.

5. Ask Locals about Safety Issues

Locals enjoying the beautiful beach at La Jolla Shores
Locals enjoying the beautiful beach at La Jolla Shores

Asking locals is my favorite way for staying safe at the beach. When you have small children especially, local families know which beaches are safe and which ones are not. When you come to a beach pay attention at how many people are inside the water and the areas where they go in the water.

Also notice if small children are actually in the water. When we visited Oahu’s another Shore, we noticed that there were no small children in the water. Then I remembered that the North Shore is home to world surfing competition due to the tall and powerful waves that occur there. As a result we only kept our kids on the edge of the water even though the crystal clear water was very inviting. Instead, we opted for the best beaches for children in Oahu.

What Is the Key to Staying Safe At the Beach?

Living close to the ocean and the beach, I found that being prepared is the key to staying safe at the beach and at the water edge. Being informed from online sources as well as local people has always helped us enjoy our times at the beach.

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