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5 Beach Safety Tips for Summer 2020

Florida is home to some of the most exciting and pristine beaches that the country has to offer. People come from around the world to enjoy the local sand, sun, and surf, which is why it is important to understand beach safety before making such a trip. Armed with the knowledge of how to best protect yourself while on the beach—especially as we continue to deal with a global pandemic—allows you and your loved ones to stay safe while having the most fun possible. Here are five beach safety tips for summer 2020 from our Panama City personal injury attorney.   

Avoid Getting Too Much Sunshine

Catching some rays is one of the best parts of relaxing on a beach in the Sunshine State. But protecting yourself from the sun is essential to avoiding adverse conditions like dehydration, heatstroke, sunburn, and skin cancer. 

When heading to the beach on a sunny day, remember to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. If you’re drinking alcohol, hydrate with another beverage as well.
  • Put on sunscreen and reapply often throughout the day, especially after swimming.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a hat and sunglasses, and pack an umbrella.
  • Avoid the midday sun, which can easily cause sunburn and overheating.

Please also keep in mind that UV rays can affect you even on cloudy days, so don’t let your guard down just because the weather is overcast.

Understand the Flag Warning System

Beaches throughout the state of Florida use a distinct flag warning system to alert beachgoers of any potentially dangerous water or weather conditions.

Each flag has a color that represents the level of danger as follows:

  • Green means low hazard. Calm conditions are present.
  • Yellow means medium hazard and may signal that moderate surf and/or currents are present. 
  • Red signifies a high hazard. High surf and/or strong currents are present, so exercise extreme caution while swimming.
  • Double red flags mean that the water is completely closed to the public. Under no circumstances should anyone go swimming.
  • Purple shows that dangerous marine life has been spotted. Be careful!

Watch the Weather 

Always check the weather forecast before heading to the beach. If a storm is coming or the wind is blowing at high speeds, the water may be unsafe for swimming. At the first sight of lightning or sound of thunder, make sure to get out of and move away from the water. Electrocution is a serious danger.

Fortunately, most Florida storms and showers don’t last very long. After an hour or two, you can likely head back to the beach for more fun in the sun.

Exercise Caution While Swimming & Playing

As you or your children swim in and play near the water, watch that no one wanders off. It is very easy to get distracted while swimming or playing, only to realize that you’ve been carried far from where you started.

Also, be extremely careful you don’t get caught in a rip current, which can pull you from the shore much quicker than you can swim.

If you do get caught in a rip current, it is recommended that you:

  • Don’t panic. Conserve your energy and do your best to think clearly. 

  • Never fight the current. Instead of fighting against it, you need to escape it as quickly as possible. 

  • Swim out of the current parallel to the shoreline. 

  • Once out of the current, swim at an angle towards the shore. 

  • If you can’t get out, either start to float or calmly tread water. You should escape naturally, at which point you can swim to the shore. 

  • If you still can’t escape or are too tired to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself. Yell for help while lifting and waving your arms. 


Remember to Social Distance

Finally, since we are still living amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your family and friends will need to exercise extra caution at the beach this summer. Try to sit away from people you don't know and always wear a mask while outside of the water. Don't share things with people you don't live with, including food, utensils, sunscreen, and beach toys. Outdoor activities are thought to be relatively safe despite the prevalence of the virus, so as long as you keep your distance from others you should be able to enjoy the beach in relative safety.

If you or a loved one is injured on a beach in Panama City or elsewhere in Florida, we can help. Contact our Florida personal injury attorney for a free and confidential consultation today.

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