How To Plan The Perfect Beach Day
Tips for staying chill and safe at the beach
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
August 15, 2022
The summer season is winding down. Celebrate National Beach Day, August 30th, with these tips to make a safe splash in the water and a soft landing in the sand.
Research beaches ahead of your stay to ensure you’re selecting a beach that fits your style and at a relaxing time of year. Select a beach with a lifeguard on duty. Also, learn about any beach amenities ahead of your visit. Check weather and beach advisories before heading out too.
Layer It On
Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen SPF 30 or higher 30 minutes before arriving at the beach. Reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Don’t forget protection for your lips, eyes, and head.
Create Some Shade
Bring a beach umbrella, tent, or canopy. Take chairs that are easy to open, easy to carry, and offer storage space for drinks and phones.
Store drinks, snacks, and food in a lightweight cooler. Freeze any water bottles and juice boxes the night before. Using liquids as ice packs can help keep foods cooler longer and lighten the weight of your cooler. And make sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated.
Toe the Line
If you’re going in the water, know how to swim. Beach safety swimming courses may be available at your local Red Cross chapter or YMCA. And don’t swim alone. Watch for flags and signs and understand what they mean.
Beach flags can offer general warnings about overall surf conditions. You can ask a lifeguard for details too. For example, the red and white quartered flag is an emergency flag directing all swimmers to leave the water. The double red flag means the water is closed to public use. The red flag indicates a high hazard with rough water conditions. All swimmers are discouraged from entering the water. The yellow flag indicates a medium hazard with moderate water conditions. Less experienced swimmers are discouraged from going in the water. The purple flag indicates marine pests are present, like jellyfish or other marine life, which can result in minor injuries. The purple flag is not intended to indicate the presence of sharks.
If you do see a shark when you are out in the water, keep your eyes on it and stay calm. Don't splash around. It can incite interest from the shark. If you are on a surfboard, point the nose of the board in the direction of the shark. By keeping your eyes on the shark, it will be able to tell you are watching it, and most swim away. Once the shark has swum off, swim back to shore while still keeping an eye out for it, then immediately notify a lifeguard or others in the water about your encounter. If a shark does try to bite you, defend yourself by punching, hitting, and poking it in its sensitive areas, like the gills and eyes. Shark attacks are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks feed and become trapped at low tide. To reduce your risk of a shark encounter, watch for unusual fish activity, such as a bunch of fish jumping out of the water. Don’t swim too far from shore, but avoid areas where someone is fishing nearby. Stay in groups when swimming, avoid being in the water during dusk and dawn, don't go in the water if you are bleeding from a wound, leave shiny jewelry at home, and avoid wearing brightly colored swimwear.
Know how to identify a rip current too. If you do get caught in one, stay calm. To escape a rip current, the Red Cross advises swimming parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, then turn and swim to shore. Alternately, float or tread water until you are free, then swim to shore. Wave or call for help if you cannot get back.
Beach floats, floaties, sand pails, a Frisbee, a body board, a pair of beach paddles and a ball, and a good book should keep a variety of personalities entertained. Beach floats, floaties, sand pails, a Frisbee, a body board, a pair of beach paddles and a ball, and a good book should keep a variety of personalities entertained. Beach winds can blow inflatables away when not in use so bring a rope and a beach stake to keep them secure.
First Aid Kit
Pack a first aid kit. Essentials should include a pair of tweezers and a small bottle of vinegar. Use tweezers for removing things like glass, splinters, or jellyfish stingers, which can get embedded in the skin. Vinegar can help neutralize the pain of a jellyfish sting. Bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, hydrocortisone cream, bug spray, aloe vera gel, and earplugs are must-haves too, plus anti-inflammatory medication, diarrhea medication, and anti-histamine.
A spacious zippered water-resistant beach bag or collapsible tote with compartments or pockets can hold everything from keys and phone to a bathing suit in a wet/dry bag, an extra set of clothes, a first aid kit, and beach towels. A sand-proof beach bag, which can help reduce any mess in your home and car, could be another option.