By: Kristen Alymeyer, American Red Cross
To me, summertime means heading down to Cape Cod with my family and friends. I feel a sense of peace (when I am out of the Bourne Bridge traffic of course) and relaxation as soon as I cross the bridge. It is my escape away from reality. Although I am only an hour and a half away from my house, I feel like I am a world away. The restaurants, store fronts, and overall charm of the Cape is unlike any other. Like the rest of Cape-goers, my friends and I are at the beach every sunny day we can get. We always pack the necessities: beach chairs, sandwiches, waters, towels, sunscreen etc. but we also make it a priority to brush up on our swimming safety knowledge. Here are some of the rules we follow.
- Always Locate the Lifeguard Chair
Lifeguards are there for YOUR own safety. Take advantage of having lifeguards on duty and set up your towels and beach chairs for the day nearby. It’s never a bad thing to have an extra pair of eyes on your loved ones while swimming in the ocean. Also, always head posted warnings.
- Read the Local Reports about Shark Sightings
There’s nothing like the magic of the ocean. However, the ocean is home to thousands of different kinds of animals and it’s crucial to remember that. Check in to see if there have been shark sightings near the beach you plan to attend.
- Don’t Overindulge in Alcoholic Beverages
The sun’s harmful UV rays dehydrate a person at a rapid pace, especially if water is not being consumed. Consuming alcoholic beverages on the beach speeds up the dehydration process. Many beaches do not allow open containers, with some going as far as even checking coolers to keep the beach orderly.
- Reapplying Sunscreen
It may seem like the biggest pain, but reapplying sunscreen every 90 minutes is crucial. Aside from the fact sunburns are extremely painful, the damage done to the skin can also lead to skin cancer. According to the American Medical Association, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives.
- Buddy System
We’ve been told to always go somewhere with a buddy since Pre-K and it still applies in adulthood. Swimming alone is dangerous. Our bodies can get worn out at a rapid pace with each wave, the strength of a current, and the riptide. The best swimmers even need someone by their side just-in-case of emergency. Also, it’s just more fun to have a friend in the water with you!
Since us East-coasters only get a few short months of beach weather, it’s important to stay up to date with your knowledge at the start of each summer. To learn more summer safety tips click here.