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There’s so much to remember when you’re heading to the beach for the day. What food to bring, body boards, inflatables, spare clothes, towels the buckets and spades, suntan lotion, bug spray, the list seems endless! But there are a few things that everyone should remember when they visit the beach and that involves keeping safe and, of course, respecting the ocean (responsible travel).

The beach, although fun, can be unpredictable, and things can change within an instant. So, I’ve come up with 10 beach safety tips for you to bear in mind so that you are better prepared and can really enjoy your summer break. Have fun and stay safe!

Stay safe from the sun by protecting yourself

The beach is often a wide-open space, with very little shade available, so you’re going to get plenty of sunshine. As we all know, the sun’s rays can be damaging and when there’s very little protective cover, you need to take extra precautions. Make sure you have a sun cream that’s a high factor, so you can protect your skin (don’t forget your ears and neck). You also need a good pair of sunglasses, like these cat eye glasses from Eye Buy Direct, so that you can preserve your eyesight and prevent injury to your eyes. It also means you won’t be squinting all day long, or constantly rubbing sand from your eyes. Don’t forget to also bring a hat, to protect yourself from getting sunburn on your face, ears and neck.

Responsible pro tip: Why not trying a coral reef-safe biodegradable sunscreen lotion. This way you protect your skin while also protecting the Oceanic environment.

Always choose a beach with lifeguards

Quite simply, a lifeguarded beach means that a team of professionals are there to help and keep you safe. Whether you’re in or out of the water, lifeguards will be on hand if something goes wrong and they’ll know the best course of action. But remember, even if you’re on a lifeguarded beach, there are still plenty of safety tips for you to follow.

You might also like: Feed your body, mind and soul in the Caribbean Island of Antigua

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Signs and flags

When you arrive at the beach, you’ll find an information board with all of the details you’ll need to know, including a few signs and flags that are flying that will indicate everything from high winds, to supervised swimming zones. Make sure you know what flags mean which instruction to follow! Remember: This is important because it is about your overall safety.

Make sure you’re up to date with the tides

Before you head to the beach, make sure you’ve checked the tide timetable, so that you’ll know when you may need to vacate the beach. You’ll be amazed at how many people get cut off by the tide each year and need rescuing. But remember, the tide can come in very quickly and the environment can change within an instant, so be vigilant and, if you’re unsure, you can always ask a lifeguard.

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Keep hydrated to avoid Heat exhaustion

When you spend all day at the beach is important to drink lots of water. You do not want to get dehydrated or suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. You don’t want to end up ruining your summer escape for you and your friends, or special ones, because you forgot to drink water. NOTE: Alcohol actually dehydrates you, so it’s not the same thing. Make sure to also drink water.

Responsible tip: Bring a refillable water bottle.

Keep the beach clean

When you go to the beach, whether it is for the day or longer, on your vacation, do us all a favor and bring a garbage bag with you where you can discard anything you eat or drink. Then, take it with you and dump it in the nearest garbage can. Do not leave garbage everywhere on the beach. You are essentially putting endangering our environment even more. Help us conserve it so that it’s available for our enjoyment for many generations from now.

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Find or create some shade

It’s not always easy to find shade on a wide-open beach, so make your own! Invest in a parasol, tent or windbreaker to get a little relief from the sun. Encourage the little ones to take a break from time to time too! A little break can go a long way so that you can continue to enjoy your day at the beach!

Wildlife protection

One of the funnest parts of swimming, snorkeling or diving in the ocean is seeing the wildlife and appreciating them in their natural environment. Please do not touch any animals, or disturb their natural environment and lifestyle. In fact, avoid feeding them too. We should always protect our animals. NOTE: Be aware of your surroundings and if you get stung, seek immediate medical attention or a lifeguard to check you.

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Protect your feet while walking around the beach

It is best to avoid walking barefoot where there are rocks, and other pointy objects. To avoid cutting your feet on broken glass or sea shells, reefs, and other potential risks found alongside the beach area, invest in a pair of swimming shoes or make sure to wear a pair of flip flops. There’s nothing worse than a cut on your foot and the beach is one of the worst places for this to happen. That’s why it is probably best to also have a basic first aid kit with you, just in case. Otherwise, a lifeguard may have one handy.

Swim and other safety tips

If you, your friends or any kids in your company are taking inflatables into the sea, then you need to remember to ensure that they’re supervised at all times. It’s important that they’re only used near the shore, only being used between the red and yellow beach flags (this indicates the area that is supervised by a lifeguard). Never use them with big waves. But if you get into difficulty, then stay with the inflatable as it will help you float until someone can reach you!  

In addition, you should always be respectful of the open water. The ocean is not something to play with, even the most sophisticated professional swimmers have gotten caught on a wave or current and have not made it out alive. Learn to spot the danger, and take care of any beginner swimmers or watch the back of your friends. Tragedy can arrive at any moment, so better to be prepared than really sorry that you weren’t.

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Lastly, make sure to select a place to meet if someone from your party gets lost. Sometimes, when you are in the water, you don’t realize how much you can drift sideways. Many times, you exit the water far from where you started and you don’t see your friends. Make sure that you have a plan of where to meet if you become separated. I like the buddy system, that way someone is always looking out for one other friend.

I hope that these 10 beach safety tips have helped you to get prepare for a fun and responsible summer escape. Make sure to always enjoy the moment, while keeping yourself and your companions safe but, importantly, while also being a responsible traveler who protects the environment for future generations of travelers to come.

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