With the summer now in full swing, thousands of locals and tourists have flooded to the beautiful Daytona area beaches. With this abundance of people and the sometimes unfamiliarity with beach conditions, this can lead to some dangerous situations on your afternoon of fun. Before you go out to the beach with friends or family for a picnic or play, review some of these helpful hints to keep you safe this Summer.
1. Know how to swim. This may seem like an obvious suggestion but every year many people who are unable to swim or are weak swimmers become casualties of the Atlantic Ocean’s changing tides, rip currents, and erosion.
- Rip Currents are extremely dangerous and can pull you out deeper or much further down the beach than you intended. Check your position and if you find yourself moving too far away from the lifeguard stand, get out and walk back down the beach. If you find yourself caught in a rip tide, do not panic and do not immediately try to swim directly toward the shore. First swim parallel to the coastline to try to move out of the rip tide. Do not over exert yourself and if you feel yourself becoming tired, try floating on your back for a minute to catch your breath. Once the rip tide has subsided, begin swimming toward shore.
- Even if you think you are staying in the shallowest part of the water, the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean have created some immense erosion. You could be in waist-deep water and take a step that slides you down a steep bank. Be especially careful with children in this regard.
- Swimming at the beach is not the same as swimming in a pool. Swimming in the waves can cause quicker fatigue than you may be use to. Remember to take breaks.It is also a good idea to use the buddy system, swimming alone is not recommended.
2. Swim near a lifeguard stand. They are there for a reason. Many people try to move away from these areas as they can get overcrowded, but remember, the further you are, the harder it will be for a lifeguard to get to you in case of an emergency. As in the case above, the closer you are to them, the more likely they will be able to see you struggling in a rip tide and be able to assist you.
3. Watch your children/ watch for children. With the main attraction of Daytona Beach being the ability to drive your car down the beach or park in the sand for the day, it is important to be aware of the little ones that will be running around.
4. Check the beach warning flags which will be posted at all lifeguard stands. Beach Warning Flags
5. Wear Sunscreen and hydrate. I know you want to get a great tan this Summer, but severe sunburns, or worse, the possibility of skin cancer is not worth the short term look. Use high-SPF sunscreen, preferably 30 or higher, especially on children. Remember, if you are feeling very hot or your skin is beginning to be visibly red, you have already spent too much time in the sun. Consider bringing or renting a nice umbrella and enjoy the beach with a little shade. Also make sure you pack water as the sun, salt water and play will all work together to dehydrate the body quickly.
Stay safe and have a great time this Summer in Daytona Beach and surrounding areas.