With marinas opening up all over South Florida, many are heading out to sea to enjoy the gorgeous weather on their boat. Among various boating activities that they might partake in is swimming. When swimming in open water, there is always a safety risk and it is important to be prepared by reviewing and adhering to ocean safety precautions.
5 Swimming Ocean Safety Tips:
Although you might feel as though your swimming skills are up to par to take a dip in open waters, remember that swimming in the ocean is not at all like swimming in a pool. To avoid any possible injury, learn a few tips that can help keep you safe before heading out to sea.
- Know how to get out of a rip current. – First and foremost, it is important to remain calm and do not fight the current. To get out of a rip current, swim parallel to the shore or sideways. This will get you out of the rip current and you will be able to make your way back to shore. If this method is not working for you, try to float or tread water. The rip current will eventually die down and you will be able to make your way back to the shore once it is calm.
- Do not push your limits. – If you are someone who has recently been injured or is facing medical conditions that limit your physical activity, do not push your limits. It is important not to cause any strain or harm to your body and take precautions when entering the water.
- Swim sober. – Never swim intoxicated! According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol use is involved in 70% of deaths associated with water recreation activities. Drinking can cause many impairments such as vision, hearing, and sense of awareness. Swimming while intoxicated can lead to possible distress and drowning. For more information on the signs of drowning, please visit our drowning resource page.
- Never swim alone. – Before entering the water, be sure someone knows where you are and that there are others around you. When swimming alone there is a greater risk of accidents happening such as drowning or becoming caught in a rip current. Even if you believe you are a strong swimmer, ensure that someone knows your location at all times or that someone is watching over you.
- Shuffle your feet when walking in the water. – This will prevent any sea creatures from surfacing, and you will avoid facing a potential threat. For example, stingrays often bury themselves in the sand, and shuffling your feet will give them a chance to flee instead of becoming territorial and possibly attack.
Tips to prevent drowning:
- Learn the signs of drowning. – While some might show signs of distress such as flailing arms and calling for help when they are drowning, that is not always the case. Some of the most common types of signs are:
- The individual is hyperventilating or gasping.
- Their faces might be hard to see or low in the water.
- They have been quiet for too long.
- Their eyes might be open and glassy, empty, or unable to focus.
- They are trying to swim but are not able to.
- They are floating face down.
- “Reach or throw, do not go.” – Unless you are a professional or a lifeguard, stay on the boat at all times! If someone appears to be struggling or possibly drowning, the best way to assist is by throwing something they can grab on to.
- Wear approved life jackets while boating. – Even if you do not plan on entering the water, it is crucial that you wear the U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or fishing. Even the strongest swimmers can face serious injury or death if they are ejected from the vessel or in an accident.
Our number one priority is always to protect Florida’s families. We understand that due to social-distancing, boating is an exciting and thrilling experience after being at home all this time. However, we want you to be aware of all safety precautions when it comes to boat safety in Florida and swimming in open waters.
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a tragedy such as drowning or a boating accident, we recommend speaking to an experienced attorney. Please contact us at Panter, Panter & Sampedro at (305) 662-6178 and let our family help your family. We offer free consultations.
“ Water Safety.” (n.d.) Retrieved on May 14, 2020 from https://redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety.html