Pay Attention to Local Warnings
Wind makes waves. When the wind is high, so is the surf. The surf causes strong currents and more frequent waves, which make conditions tough for safe swimming. The U.S. has a flag-based warning system for ocean beaches. Follow the flag system to swim safe.
Double red flags - do not go in or near the water.
Red flag - dangerous conditions, swimming hazards present.
Yellow flag - conditions are moderately dangerous, swimming hazards present but accomplished swimmers can handle it.
Green flag - no swimming hazards present. The water is safe for all ages to swim safely.
Ask locals each day about waves and current conditions of the water. Swimming hazards can pop up at anytime. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., check with locals and ask about their warning system.
Real Drowning vs. The Movie Version
It’s important for people to know that real life drowning doesn't look like it does on television. In fact, in open water, the risk for drowning goes up with a child’s age. When someone is drowning they are unable to wave for help as waving their arms is a voluntary movement. They will try to use their arms to continuously propel themselves above the water in order to catch their breath.
People who are drowning sink below the water and then resurface several times, but are unable to call out when they resurface, as they’re not above the surface for long and taking a breath takes precedence over yelling out for help. Drowning can happen in a minute and it’s always safe practice to make sure you can hear your child and ensure an adult is supervising any children in the water.
No Diving Until You Know the Depth
Especially in open water many swimming hazards are not visible to the naked eye. Do not dive head first into the water at the beach as the sand is hard-packed and not forgiving. Always go in feet first until you can make yourself aware of the conditions underwater. If you’re at a pool, observe the posted diving depths and limits. Diving into shallow water, especially under 5’, is incredibly dangerous and can result in injuries or worse.
Look, Don't Touch, Marine Life
When swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, there are many forms of marine life to marvel at and observe. It’s the best part of being underwater and swimming with the fishes, pretending to be one! However, touching the marine life could hurt you, or even hurt the animal itself. Even if a marine animal has washed up on shore, keep your distance, get help, and don't let curiosity get the best of you. We have children as young as 4 years old become quite confident/proficient with a mask and snorkel - just take some time in the pool to prepare for the ocean
Take Lots of Breaks
Part of vacationing safely is knowing when to take a break. Heat stroke, sunburns, dehydration and exhaustion are all side effects of pushing yourself too far. Remember that a vacation is just that, a vacation. Everyone deserves a little downtime to get comfortable and regain their energy. Taking a break also ensures you and your kids have energy for activities, like swimming, safely.
Avoid Cloudy Swimming Pools
Trips to the beach almost always include trips to the pool. Don't enter cloudy, murky swimming pools. Poor water quality is a common swimming hazard and can lead to illness. Follow these tips to swim safely:
don't enter pools that have slick or slimy walls
shower before entering pools and don’t let sick kids or family members into the pool
don’t get pool water in your mouth and caution your kids not to swallow the water
The main goal of a vacation is to have fun and make family memories that will last a lifetime. To accomplish this, remember to travel safe with these vacation safety tips and share them with your family members and friends. We wish you and your family a fabulous vacation season!