Going to the beach can be a great day out, or even longer if you have traveled to a coastal resort. While spending time frolicking in the sea and sand, catching your own dinner, or even simply admiring the views and wildlife, can be incredibly fun, there are some dangers that you might want to bear in mind. By considering the different ways that you can keep yourself safe and healthy, you may be able to steer clear of injury, or even loss of life.

What Dangers Can Occur at the Beach?

1. Eye Injuries

You may face some danger of injury to the eyes when at a sandy beach. All About Vision explains how sand can get swept into the eyes, and that you may benefit from keeping an eyewash on your person just in case. This way, the sand can be removed quickly and easily, meaning it may not have enough time to sit and irritate your eyes, or even scratch the lens.

You might also want to think about the ways that light can also cause dry eyes, sensitivity, and even long-term damage. It isn’t just the direct light from the sun that needs to be considered. This light may also reflect on the surface of the water, causing glare and possible discomfort.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach in Sydney

2. Rip Currents

Venturing into the water itself can also hold a number of dangers. While you may feel perfectly fine, to begin with, swimming can exert your energy. If you find that you are struggling to swim back to shore, it is entirely possible that you could be caught in a rip current, which may try to pull you further out. When this occurs, swimming against the current can be a fruitless task. Instead, it can be a good idea to signal for help and, if you have the energy, try and swim parallel to the shore until you are away from the current’s pull. If not, floating on your back can help you to keep your energy up until the point that you are rescued. Looking for signs on the beach can help you to see if this danger is a possibility.

You should also make kids wear a lifejacket if they want to swim in the water and make sure they do not go out too far. 

3. Wildlife Stings or Bites

The wildlife living in the ocean may also pose a danger to your health. While some may simply cause you minor discomfort from stings or irritations, others could lead to loss of life. An example of this can be shark attacks. While shark bites each year are minor, others can cause death through traumatic injuries or through major blood loss before help is available. When in the ocean, it can be important to be respectful of the creatures that live there as, at times, many attacks are the result of provocation if a person attempts to fish or swim in a shark’s territory, or even touch one during an encounter.

4. Dehydration

Feeling a little thirsty whilst you’re enjoying a day at the beach seems perfectly normal, however when dehydration kicks in you may find yourself in real danger. Enjoying the weather and sweating profusely throughout the day can leave your body deprived of precious fluids, the fluids it needs to keep your body functioning and healthy. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can lead to all kinds of health problems and even put you in immediate danger if you head into the ocean and suddenly feel weak and dizzy.

To keep yourself safe, healthy, and hydrated on the beach, you should remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day – voiding alcohol. Being on the beach can be distracting and it’s easy to forget to sip some water. So consider setting some reminders on your phone and ask family or friends to remind each other to drink.  

5. Pollution

Sadly, many visits to the beach are marred by selfish individuals who litter, leave their trash behind, or from ocean plastic and waste that washes up on the shore. Not only are these items unsightly and highly damaging to the ecosystem and planet, but they can also be a serious danger to beach-goers, especially younger children and pets when these items are hidden beneath the sand. 

Broken bottles and glass, shredded tin cans, plastic, cigarette ends, broken plastic beach toys, bottles, and biological waste that’s either in the ocean or on the sand. It’s not always easy to keep you and your family safe from these potential hazards, however acting cautiously and checking the area around you for rubbish and pollution whilst sunbathing, relaxing, swimming and playing can keep your party safe. Being vigilant and letting lifeguards know about any dangerous objects or waste in the sea or on the sand can help others too.   

Platis Gialos beach

Platis Gialos beach in Mykonos

6. High Winds

Did you know that high winds are also a potential danger for any beachgoer? Not only are high winds likely to whip sand up into your eyes causing pain and discomfort, but as a high percentage of wave energy is caused by high winds, anyone who is swimming in the sea could be at risk and find themselves unexpectedly struggling against strong waves that sweep them out to sea. 

One of the best ways to keep you and your family safe from the dangers of high winds is to keep an eye on the weather forecast. You can still visit the beach if it’s windy but perhaps stick to paddling on the shore, rather than swimming to keep your visit a safe one.  Always swim between the flags on the beach and ask the lifeguards for advice if you’re concerned. 

7. Drowning

We’ve already touched upon the dangers of riptides and what swimmers should do if they find themselves in danger. However, even the shallowest of water could prove to be life-threatening, especially if you’re visiting the beach with non-swimmers and young children. You might be taking it in turns to monitor the children in your group, but are you and your party familiar with the signs of drowning?

While TV shows and movies depict drowning as a dramatic and high-intensity moment, the reality is much more sinister and frightening. Drowning is usually silent and the signs are often so subtle, onlookers may not realize until it’s too late. Typical signs include hair over their face or forehead,  head titled back with their mouth open, stuck in a vertical position, moving in an upward motion as though trying to climb a ladder, and having their eyes closed. Understanding what drowning looks like can potentially save someone’s life.   

Remember that drowning is a risk everyone takes when they get in the water, no matter their age, strength, or swimming ability. Surprisingly, more adults die from drowning each year than children. So make sure everyone is taking the necessary precautions, by never swimming alone, always swimming near lifeguards, and understanding the limits of their ability.  

Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach in Kauai

A day at the beach should be fun, enjoyable, and safe. Therefore recognizing the potential dangers on the beach is an important part of preparing for your day and can help you and your family have a great day that’s memorable for all the right reasons. Making sensible decisions when at the beach can help you to stay alive and healthy. If at any point, you are unsure if something is safe, it can be a good idea to avoid it, rather than take the risk and pay the ultimate price for doing so.

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