Summertime beach days are the best, no matter what it is you like to do in the ocean: swimming, wading, kayaking, surfing or stand-up paddling. But we sometimes forget that such a friendly, happy place is also a wild place. We humans are out of our element in the ocean and we need to take the proper precautions to keep our family and ourselves safe while we're enjoying all of our seaside days.
Swimming Events Near You
More: Campgrounds Near Surf Spots?
Contrary to popular belief, "the undertow" is sort of an old wives' tale—and, for that matter, so is a "rip tide." These phrases are most likely referring to rip currents, which are like?narrow, fast-moving?channels or belts?of water moving from the shore out towards the ocean. Rips are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers; especially when a particular swimmer is inexperienced or weak. However, some rips are poweful enough to sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea—but the way you react to a rip current is ultimately more significant than the rip itself.
More: Avoid Rip Currents
Although your instinct will tell you to swim against the current in order to get out of it, don't. It's self-defeating and you'll only expend your energy, decreasing your chances of getting out of it safely. Instead, don't panic. Swim out of the rip, parallel to the beach, instead of against it and then make your way to the shore.?
All that salt and sun can drain you, quick. Make sure you pack enough water and sustinance to last your outing.
It just comes with the territory; when you love being outside, you're sharing your space with all the other little (and big) creatures that live there. At the beach, we're visitors in their home and not only do we have to respect the ecosystem there, but we also have to be careful of the repercussions our visits can have on our own bodies.
Jellyfish: Jellyfish are typical summertime problems up and down the East Coast and in Southern Californian waters, most prevalent when they're carried ashore by winds or ocean currents. Most jellies that you'll encounter at the beach don't carry fatal poison in their tentacles; the deadliest are mostly found in Australia and Indo-Pacific waters. Still, come in contact with a whole jellyfish or even tiny piece of a jellyfish and that annoying sting can itch and burn for hours, if not a couple of days.