It never hurts to take precautions around water. Many of the tips mentioned, also apply to lake and bay swimming. By heeding these common sense suggestions, summertime trips to the beach, will not only be fun, but safe.
•Pay attention to swimming boundaries and markings. These are placed in areas for a reason. Either the water can be perilous beyond these points or you will drift out of the lifeguard’s view.
•Know how to swim. Most people who enter the ocean don’t swim in it. Most tend to jump and float. This prompts those who don’t know how to swim to enter waist-high water. Unfortunately oceans have currents that can quickly envelop the unassuming ocean bather, dragging them out, deep into ocean territory. Knowing how to float will not enable that person to return to shore. Before entering the ocean, a person should have a rudimentary knowledge of how to swim. They should become proficient in a swimming pool first, since swimming in the ocean is much more difficult. Besides currents and rip tides, one can’t assume that a lifeguard is watching all of the swimmers all of the time. It only takes a few seconds for a swimmer to get in trouble. Knowing how to swim can help buy time until help arrives
•If caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to the shore. Swimming perpendicularly, not only can tire you out, but also unknowingly can allow tides to pull you out further. Parallel swimming enables one to get out of potentially dangerous tides, allowing the individual to be able to return to shore.
•Do not swim near piers. Piers typically see very strong tides and the possibility of getting caught in one is great, for any type of swimmer. Once in the clutches of a tide, getting thrashed against the pylons can create serious injury.
•Children should not be left unsupervised at any time, especially if swimming. If adults and experienced swimmers can get pulled out to sea or under the surf, a small child will certainly be no match for the ocean’s power. In addition, children’s voices are weak and not usually heard under normal shore conditions. A parent or babysitter must watch the children carefully, to ensure safety.
•Don’t start to swim without stretching. Stretching allows the muscles to warm up avoiding cramping. Cramping, once in the water, can lead to serious complications.