Valdosta Daily Times

June 15, 2013

Beach Safety: Keeping safe with fun in the sun

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — During the summer months, families travel hundreds of miles to enjoy the beauty of the ocean. While going to the beach might be many families’ perfect vacation, it can quickly become a nightmare if beach-goers are not careful. It is important to remember these tips to ensure your safety during a beach vacation.

Pack sunscreen. The first item that should be packed for a beach trip is sunscreen. Vacationers should make sure their sunscreen is at least an SPF 15 and also that it is waterproof. It is important to remember that swimming and sweating, both very common at the beach, can weaken sunblock. Beach-goers should reapply sunscreen at least once an hour to prevent sunburn.

Pack flotation devices. This goes for both adults and children, the most avid swimmers and swimming newbies. Always remember to pack a float, a life vest or arm floaties. Children should always be accompanied by an adult and should always have life vests or arm floaties on while swimming at the beach. Adults should also bring flotation devices into deep water (shoulder depth) with them. Drop-offs on the ocean floor, currents and waves can cause water to quickly become deeper than expected. Rip tides and waves can quickly pull a person under water and these floatation devices could be a life saver.

Stay hydrated. When at the beach, dehydration is a very serious issue, despite being right beside the water. Depending on how long they are staying at the beach, vacationers should always pack at least a half-gallon, or about four bottles, of water per adult. A third of a gallon of water, or about three bottles of water, should be brought for each child. It is important to remember to drink a lot of water throughout the day, this will help keep the body hydrated.

Sit beside a lifeguard. This is important to remember, for families especially. During the mayhem of having children at the beach, parents are often not paying close attention to their surroundings. A lifeguard will keep an eye out for changing currents, sharks and other dangers and inform beach-goers about these dangers. A lifeguard is also important for individuals going to the beach. A lifeguard will keep an eye out for swimmers who might get caught in the rip current and attempt to rescue anyone who is drowning.

A few other tips include: Always remember to pack aloe-vera or burn treatment in case of sunburn. If the hotel has a refrigerator, putting the aloe-vera in the refrigerator will cool it off and help with the sting of the sunburn as well. Also pack a few large T-shirts to wear over a sunburn. Avoid wearing tight clothes on a sunburn because this is more likely to lead to skin aggravation, blisters and peeling.