A great thing about the summer, is that it is filled with fun at the beach! Read the tips below and be safe at the beach this summer.
Pay attention to environmental conditions!
- Check weather conditions before you swim. For example, a lot of wind means big waves and currents, while storm and lightning means there is a risk for electric shock. It is very dangerous to swim in these conditions and should be avoided.
- Is the beach tended to? Organized beaches are cleaned and cared for regularly making it a more safe and enjoyable environment.
- Are there lifeguards present at the beach? If so, sit near them.
- Are there boats nearby? Stay at least 100m from piers and boats.
- Are there warning flags on the beach? Always obey warning signs and rules at the beach. Make sure you understand the meaning of the signs and flags as they can differ from beach to beach.
On the beach:
- Stay alert. People who have small children, should keep them in sight at all times. Beaches can get quite crowded and children can get lost.
- Watch for hazardous materials hidden in the sand. Look through and clear the sand near and around you of sharp object such as broken glass. It is also a good idea to carry a small first aid kit in case of an injury. Take the opportunity to explain to small children about telling an adult if they find any dangerous items.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Always use sunblock (apply prior to exposure and often) and wear protective gear such as a hat and sunglasses. Sunblock (with at least 15SPF) helps to protect from damage to the skin, heat exhaustion and dehydration while wearing a hat and sunglasses protects you face and eyes.
- For children, bodysuit beachwear along with hat and sunblock is recommended to protect them from the sun.
- Try to avoid direct sunlight between 10am- 4pm.
- Drink plenty of water, even when you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks or caffeine as they dehydrate you and can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Wear proper shoes if you choose to hike on beach rocks.
- Avoid touching plants and animals on the beach and in the water.
In the water:
- Keep an eye on children at all times when in the water and make sure they and all inexperienced swimmers wear a life-jacket. In general, keep an eye on children and elderly at the beach. It is very easy to lose footing and need help as drowning can occur even in shallow waters. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death globally.
- Do not swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
- Wait at least 3 hours to swim after a meal.
- Never swim and drink. Do not swim if you have been drinking alcohol. The effects of alcohol and the sun can incapacitate someone who tries to swim, which can lead to drowning.
- Always dive feet-first –protect your head and neck. Do not dive head first. This can lead to severe injuries and paralysis.
- Watch out for rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current STAY CALM and NEVER fight the current. Instead,
- Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once out of the current, swim directly toward the shore. Note: If you can’t swim to shore, draw attention to yourself for help. Wave and call out for help.
- If someone is stuck in a current in the water, do not go in after them. First call the lifeguard or have someone call 1-9-9. Throw anything that floats to the victim and yell instructions to them on how to escape the rip current.
- If you get a stung by a jellyfish or other sea creatures, use seawater to clean and rinse with vinegar for 30 seconds or seek medical attention, if needed.
- Stay at least 100 meters from piers and boats. Follow all rules and safety instructions when playing water sports or diving. When swimming, stay clear from speed boats and water sports using an engine, for example jet skis, which can cause serious accidents with severe injuries and even death.
- Take a first aid course to learn how to handle an emergency situation.
- Take a swimming course and enroll children in swimming courses.
1. American Red Cross. Beach Safety Tips | American Red Cross. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/beach-safety..
2. Living and Loving. 7 must-know beach safety facts | Living and Loving. https://www.livingandloving.co.za/child/7-must-know-beach-safety-facts.
3. Morin K. Stay Safe At the Beach — 13 Tips for Preventing Injury and Illness | Greatist. https://greatist.com/health/beach-safety-tips. Published 2013.
The George D. Behrakis Research LAB wishes you a wonderful and SAFE summer!
See you in September!
For the Greek version of this article, click here.