Beach Safety Tips when swimming in Florida

Lifeguard station on a beach in Miami
Lifeguard station on a beach in Miami

Beach Safety Tips when swimming in Florida

There is no reason why you should not enjoy your time in the ocean if you are “Ocean Smart” and take a few simple and obvious precautions.

Firstly make sure you put on plenty of waterproof sunscreen, preferably SPF 15 or higher and enjoy yourself! Florida beaches are great places to be, if you just take care.

Beach safety tips

  • Always swim near a manned lifeguard tower. Most manned lifeguard stations operate from around 9 to 10 o’clock in the morning until 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening but do check
  • Before entering the water, check the lifeguard warning flags and take heed. If in any doubt ask a lifeguard or warden
  • Never swim alone, always swim with a buddy
  • Do not swim if you have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs as they could impair your judgement
  • Do not over estimate your ability and do not rely on any floatation devices
  • Swim parallel to the shore and watch out for rip currents
  • Do not dive into shallow breaking waves or unclear water
  • Keep clear or rocks, buoys and jetties
  • Always watch children closely, even when lifeguards are present. Pay particular attention if you are on a beach which allows vehicles as children are prone to running around without looking where they are going and they have been several tragic accidents in recent years involving children being knocked down by moving vehicles on the beach

If you get into trouble, call and wave for help. If you get caught in a rip current, do not try to fight against it as you may only tire yourself out, try to stay calm and follow the shoreline.

If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard if present, otherwise dial 911. Be particularly careful of rip currents as there have been many occasions where the “rescuer” has drowned trying to save another person in difficulty.

If there is any threat of thunder and lightning, then get out of the water and off the beach. The safest place to be is in your car. Around 10 people die every year in Florida from lightning strikes and one of the commonest places for this to happen is on the beach.

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