Image taken by Michaela
When it's summertime, all you want to do is go to the beach and relax, swim, and soak up some rays. However, public beaches can be hotspots for accidents in and around the water. While your plan might've been to bum on the beach, it's always important to be alert and aware of your surroundings to keep yourself and others safe.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you're hitting the sandy beaches.
A rip current is a strong, narrow channel of fast-moving water that occurs near beaches with breaking waves. Rip currents can present a dangerous hazard to swimmers, who may panic if caught in one. Swimmers will want to head directly to shore if pulled into a strong rip current, but they face the risk of drowning from fatigue. Therefore it's important to spot these ocean holes early to appropriately inform beachgoers.
Wind strength and wave size can be indicators of how strong the current is and whether a rip may form. If you find yourself thinking the weather might be showing signs of presenting a rip current, discuss your observation with the on-duty lifeguard. With your tip and their resources, they can better assess the situation and see if there's a real threat to beachgoers. Knowledge is also a life-saving tool!
If you're at the beach on a hot, sunny day, most likely there are also crowds of other people with the same idea. Most beaches, particularly the popular ones, can get overcrowded with beachgoers. With this number of people in a condensed area, it can be hard for lifeguards to spot every single thing that occurs. You can be that second eye and scan the beach from time to time to ensure swimmers and beach bums are behaving appropriately. While you may not be the one acting in response to a hazard, you can spot the incident and quickly tell a lifeguard. You might spot something the lifeguard would've never seen.
If responding to water hazards interests you, you might want to consider LIT First Aid & Lifeguard Training for formal training as a lifeguard. Gain the knowledge and skills needed to really save a life.