How to Safely Make the Most of your Beach Visit
Sea, sun, surf, sand and… safety? Yes, you can still have fun in the sun at the beach without risking either yours or your family's safety.
As we head into more stable weather times, Southern California's beaches become a magnet for leisure, sports, swimming, vacationing and relaxing.
But every year, hundreds of oceanfront visitors end up in trouble or even in the ER when the excitement of the occasion makes them forget some of the basic rules for staying safe on the beach.
Others miss the chance of making the most of their days on the beach by simply not planning their visits well.
We always want the best of everything for our clients, so, in the interests of enjoying your next trip to the beach, we've set out a few basic points to keep you happy and safe.
A Quick Guide to Beach Safety
Making the most of your beach trip means protecting your body, inside and out.
That means applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 to 50 -- and reapplying every couple of hours. If you go in the ocean, reapply the sunscreen as soon as you get out and dry. For more skin safety tips visit or blog on sun protection!
And it means, keeping yourself well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly. You'll likely need more than you'd think.
Make sure you read, understand and obey any posted flags and notices. For your water safety at the beach, it's essential to know what flags mean -- red for strong surf and potential danger, yellow for moderate conditions calling for extra caution, green for calm and clear.
Purple or blue flags generally indicate marine life that could be dangerous. If you see these, talk to the lifeguards about them
On that subject, remember that when it comes to water safety of the beach, the lifeguard is your friend. If you're swimming, stay within their immediate view. In fact, it's always a good idea to chat to the lifeguard if you can to check ocean conditions and get any tips about safe and dangerous swimming areas.
In particular, ask about beach safety and rip currents. 8 out of every 10 lifeguard rescues are caused by rip currents -- strong offshore currents that are difficult to swim against and can carry you away from the shore. They're often found around piers and jetties.
(If you do get caught in a rip current, don’t try to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to it until you feel the current relax; then head inshore)
If you have youngsters with you on your visit, child safety at the beach should always be uppermost in your mind. Their sense of danger is low, so you're their first line of defense.
That means keeping them in your sight at all times. If you're with other adults, agree a watch system so that someone is always monitoring their activities, including if you have to leave the beach, whether it's for ice cream or a restroom visit.
Only allow younger children into the water when you're with them. Ideally your child should be able to swim, which cuts their drowning risk by almost 90 percent. If they can't, they should wear a lifejacket.
Older kids who are good swimmers may not need you but they should still "buddy up" with another swimmer.
Fun Beach Essentials
If you want to have fun at the beach, make sure you take the right gear.
Before your beach trip, make a quick and simple checklist of the stuff you need to take, things like:
- Swimsuits -- yes, it's obvious but you'd be amazed how many people forget these
- Coolers -- well stocked with water and other cold drinks. Beer? Maybe, but always swim sober
- Sunscreen (see above)
- Sun hats
- Beach chairs, beach blanket and tent or umbrella
- Life jackets and flotation devices
- Any watercraft or floatables you plan to use
- Flip flops -- the sand can get pretty hot -- and/or water shoes
- Books and reading devices
- Waterproof case for your phone
- Toys for the kids, including traditional buckets and spades
- Bodyboards or surfboards
- Dry storage bag, with towelettes and a small first aid kit.
Get the idea? You may not want or use all of these and there may be others we haven’t included. But making that list will ensure you don’t arrive at the beach only to realize you forgot a key item.
Beach Fun Activities
Short of ideas about beach fun activities? You'll find plenty of ideas online from bodyboard surfing and snorkeling to ball games.
You can buy waterproof playing cards on Amazon and, of course, you can always join in the moat digging and castle building with the kids.
Beach Dog Fun
Many beaches in Southern California are dog-friendly (you'll find a good list here: https://tinyurl.com/doggy-beaches ) and taking along your furry friends can add to the fun and excitement of your visit.
Make sure you know and follow the rules (for instance, some beaches require dogs to be kept on a leash) and consider safeguarding them with a pet sun protector spray.
Mostly, dogs just want to run with the wind and splash in and out of the ocean. Did you know, by the way, that you can buy life jackets and even boardshorts and bathing suits for your pet?
But take a good selection of toys anyway, especially of the floating variety, and keep an absorbent pet towel to dry them off when they finally emerge from the waves.
Don’t forget to take a good supply of food and water, along with your dog's own portable dishes. And remember that hot sand can burn paws. Dry, soft sand is also tough on the joints of older animals.
At the End of the Day
Yes, you can have a fun day or more at the beach and stay safe. But please remember the golden rule: Leave the beach as you found it (or would like to have found it) -- clean and free from traces of your visit, and your dog's.
You did remember that, didn’t you? If not, get in touch with Aldrich Taylor and we'll have you covered in no time.