There is nothing more liberating than leaving the winter blues behind and relaxing at the beach upon the first signs of warm weather. However, such fun in the sun may not be worth it if something unfortunate happens at the beach. Here are some important tips that can help you avoid common dangers at the beach.
1. Protect Yourself From Bugs
In certain beaches around the world, insects that enjoy sandy environments can be prevalent and a nuisance for fun beach days. For example, blood sucking insects such as sand flies and chiggers can leave furiously itchy and unsightly marks on the body. While they are not fatal, they can definitely put a damper in the days following the beach visit. Researching the beaches you plan to visit, as well as some bug spray, can be a good idea. (For more information on this topic, read A Guide To Bug Bite Identification And Treatment.)
2. Be Aware Of Germs
Little did you know, but the sandy beaches are a melting pot of microorganisms that can give you a serious tummy ache. For example, E. coli, which is generally found in fecal matter from humans and animals alike, is found in beaches all over the world. Try to swallow minimal water when swimming, and always wash your hands before eating.
3. Warm Up Before Hitting The Waters
After a cold season of minimal movement, your body may not be well-adjusted to strenuous muscle movements in cold sea water. It is important to thoroughly warm up before going into the water to prevent potential cramping of the muscles; in serious cases, drowning may occur. Do a few full body stretches, or at least a few jumping jacks, before going into the ocean. (If you’re looking for a fast and easy to warm up, see 10 Dynamic Warm Up Exercises.)
4. Be Careful Of Sea Creatures
While the notion of swimming with exotic sea creatures is alluring, be sure to do your research before diving into any school of sea creatures. For example, sea animals such as certain species of jellyfish and sting rays can be poisonous and sting you, whether they are beached or under the water. Other creatures, such as sharks and killer whales, can be deadly when provoked. Do not wear shiny jewelry when swimming, and stay away from questionable sea creatures.
5. Use Sunscreen
Sunburns often creep up on you later on, after a long day at the beach. First degree sunburns can cause itchy, painful peeling, while second degree burns can cause blisters and fever. Be sure to use plenty of sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and reapply every two hours (if staying dry) or every time you emerge from the water.
6. Stay Cool
Heat strokes are a common danger among beachgoers, and it can definitely ruin a nice beach day for yourself and your friends. Be sure to always seek shade when resting or out of the water, and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water or eating high water content foods.
7. Stay Within Sight Of A Lifeguard
At the beach, always obey the limits set by the lifeguards, and stay within sight of a lifeguard tower. Not only can it minimize the potential of drowning, it can also serve as a safeguard against unpredictable rip currents (powerful channeled water that pulls the swimmers out to the sea) and shore breaks (when waves crash directly on the shore).
8. Check Water Reports (For Tar & Oil Spills)
Checking water reports would be a good idea for those who participate in water sports. Sometimes, tar leaks and oil spills may contaminate nearby ocean waters, and being covered in toxic goo may be the last thing you want from a day at the beach. Tsunamis, which are large waves caused by volcanic activity underwater, can also be dangerous.
9. Check The Weather Report
If you live in a region where the weather can be volatile and unpredictable, be sure to check the weather reports before heading out and take the necessary precautionary steps. In the United States, an average of 62 people is killed annually from lightening. You also may not want to visit the beach after a rainstorm where vast amounts of drainage from the city may make the ocean water murky and odorous.
10. Be Careful Where You Step
While digging your toes into the sand is a lovely feeling, beware of broken shells, glass fragments, or metal shards that may litter the beach. Not only are cuts on your feet an invitation to a myriad of diseases and infections, it can also spoil a day of fun. Wear shoes or sandals when beach running and try to stay away from fire pits and grills, where shards and sharp objects can be more prevalent.
It is always fine to go a little wild at the beach, but be sure to take the above precautions to avoid any potential regrets. Share these tips with your family, friends, and loved ones so they can fully enjoy their fun at the beach, too!