Did you know our world is 71% water?
97% of that water is our beautiful blue oceans! The ocean is an incredible place to travel to on a family vacation or a beautiful place to spend your summer days if you live nearby.
As beautiful as our oceans are, they are magnificently complex. Check out these tips to keep your family safe when swimming in our oceans!
Tip 1: Check the weather & tides before swimming.
We often talk about the importance of checking the weather before going swimming. When heading to the ocean, not only is it important to check the weather, it's also important to be aware of the tide schedule before going swimming. Our moon's gravitational pull affects our oceans. This is what creates high tide - the water is higher on the shoreline with a smaller sandy area, and low tide - the water is further away and there is more sand on the beach.
Knowing about the tides is important because this will alter where the water drop-offs are in the swimming area. It can also affect the undertow and rip currents. Two features of the ocean that swimmers MUST know about before going swimming.
Tip 2: Always swim in the designated swimming area when a lifeguard is on duty.
When swimming at a beach swimming areas are most likely marked with red and green flags. It is important to swim between the green flags. This is the area that is not only supervised by a lifeguard, it's an area where surfers, kayakers, paddle-boarders, and boaters cannot enter.
Tip 3: Know about rip current and what to do if you get caught in one.
Rip currents are a strong, often narrow, current that brings water away from the shore and back out to sea.
NOAA (National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration) has put together an excellent Q&A all about rip currents included how and why they are formed along with more safety tips. You can find thatQ&A Here!
What to do if you get caught in a riptide:
What to do if you see someone who needs help:
Tip 4: Swim at least 100 feet from piers or jetties
Piers and docks are used mostly for boats or for people to walk on to enjoy the beautiful beach scene.
Jetties are built to help protect and sustain our beaches.
They can be dangerous to swim near because the current can sweep you towards these areas before you know it. Swimming near these man-made structures can cause injury.
Be sure to swim at least 100 feet away from them. If you notice that you are getting closer to these structures, you can get out of the water and walk future down the beach to swim in a safer place. You can also swim in the opposite direction providing that the current isn't that strong.
Our beaches can be a beautiful place to enjoy the scenery for a day, weekend, or a longer vacation. It's important you and your families know these and other safety tips before swimming at the beach.
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