There are many hazards that a swimmer faces when they go to the beach, but there are steps that can be taken to be safe! Here are some suggestions:
1. NEVER SWIM ALONE.
2. Swim at a guarded beach at all times. The U.S Lifesaving association calculated that a person has a 1 in 18 million chance of drowning at a USLA Lifeguard protected beach.
3. Know how to escape rip and channel currents. For instructions, click HERE.
4. Know your beach. Are there lifeguards? Is there lifesaving equipment available? Is a flag system in place? Do you have cell phone reception if there is an emergency, and can you accurately describe your location? Are there signs posted warning of dangerous currents?
5. When in doubt-don't go out! If the waves are high and the winds are strong, should anyone really be in the water?
6. Bring a lifevest or some sort of device to keep you afloat (inner tube, floaties, boogey board).
The flag system was mentioned as one of the key points of making the trip to the beach safe. If your beach has flags, it is important to know what they mean. Read about the flag system HERE.
Lastly, stay aware of the weather and lake conditions! The National Weather Service produces products that can help people remain aware of the rip current risk for each day. Check this link to see if the office closest to you offers a surf zone forecast: SURF ZONE FORECAST.
The NWS in Marquette, MI offers the surf zone product and the Hazardous weather outlook. These products discuss the high, moderate, or low rip current risks each day during swimming season.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's rip current awareness week story: How can the NWS in Marquette help me stay safe on the beach?