Beach Safety Information
Swimming Safety Tips
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing more refreshing than taking a dip in the beautiful blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. However, you need to be sure and practice safety when swimming in the ocean. We’ve included some key rules about ocean swimming to make your vacation stress free and fun.
If there is a lifeguard on duty, be sure to ask how strong the waves are that day and if there are any strong currents. Depending on the weather, you might encounter rip currents. These are strong currents that can quickly and easily carry even the strongest of swimmers from shore. However, don’t panic if you find yourself caught in either situation. Rip currents are generally only 30 to 100 ft. wide. Swim parallel to the shore rather than fighting against the current. This will allow you to swim “over” the current within a few minutes and once you’re through it, you can swim back to shore. If you aren’t able to swim back to the beach, be sure to float or tread water while trying to wave at the lifeguard (or others on shore) for help. If you find yourself being pulled under water, don’t fight against the waves, but go with the current as it will quickly let up.
If you are caught in a Rip Current:
- Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
- Never fight against the current.
- Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
- Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle–away from the current–towards shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
- If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
The warm, sparkling shores of the Atlantic Ocean welcome millions of visitors each summer to enjoy the sun and warm weather. While Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea, many also flock to the warm ocean waters of the Atlantic because of the ideal temperatures. Winds and ocean currents carry these creatures to shallow water and ashore. Often, thanks to their translucent appearance they are hard to see. They are however easily identified by their umbrella like shape with many tentacles. While the stings of the largest species of jellyfish are not venomous, they can be extremely painful. If you are stung by a jellyfish, you might need first aid immediately.
First, the person helping you must remember to protect themselves when removing the tentacles stuck to the skin. Using a towel or cloth will protect them. Also, removing the tentacles will not remove the stinging cells. After large pieces of the jellyfish are removed, shaving cream may be applied to the area and a knife edge, safety razor, or credit card may be used to take away any remaining venomous cells.
Please note that rubbing the wound or using alcohol, spirits, ammonia or urine will encourage the release of venom and should be avoided. Instead, rinse with salt water or white vinegar to help inactivate the venom. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can help control skin irritation. You can remove the venom from the skin by applying a paste of baking soda and water every 15 – 20 minutes while keeping the sting covered with cloth.
If you are stung by a Jellyfish:
- Protect yourself from contact with the jellyfish or jellyfish tentacles. All helpers should consider protective clothing and gloves in order to protect themselves so they can better rescue and treat the victim.
- Remove the victim from the water.
- Rinse the affected area with salt water or vinegar. Do not rinse the involved area of skin with fresh water, urine or alcohol because it will further activate nematocysts and worsen the reaction.
- Using protective gloves or a towel to remove any tentacles still in contact with the victim.
- Apply white vinegar or salt water. This will inactivate the venomous cells and will help to decrease symptoms.
- Use over-the-counter pain medications such as Benadryl to control pain symptoms. Immobilize the area that was poisoned to prevent further spread. For example, if a foot was stung, encourage the victim to keep the area still with as little movement as possible. Ice can also be applied to stop the spread of venom until either of these is available.