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5 Summer Beach Safety Tips This Shark Week

How to Prepare for Your Beach Vacation

Summertime is beach time. When the sun is shining brightly to warm the sand and the water is the perfect temperature for swimming, it's important to take precautions to stay safe in the water. Shark week is here and it’s the perfect time to review your beach preparations and make a plan to maximize the fun of your trip while staying safe.

Beach Safety Essentials

Before you pack your beach bag and head out, taking a few precautions can make a significant difference in your beach experience:

  1. Check for Warning Flags: Before you set foot on the sand, familiarize yourself with the beach's warning flag system. These flags, often displayed at beach entrances or lifeguard stations, indicate water conditions such as rip currents, strong waves, or hazardous marine life warnings. Look for a sign under each flag that explains what the flag colors mean. Keep in mind that different beaches may use different flag systems, so take a moment to understand what each color signifies at your specific location.
  2. Pack Sun Protection: The sun's rays can be intense, especially near the water where reflection can increase exposure. Pack and regularly apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and lightweight clothing that covers your skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Spending time in the sun and salt water can lead to dehydration, even if you don't feel thirsty. Bring plenty of water and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can dehydrate you further. Opt for water-rich fruits, like watermelon, to stay hydrated and refreshed.
  4. Swim Near a Lifeguard: Whenever possible, swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards. They are trained to spot potential hazards and provide immediate assistance if needed. If you're unsure about ocean conditions or currents, ask a lifeguard for advice before entering the water.
  5. Be Aware of Rip Currents: Rip currents are powerful channels of water that flow away from the shore. They can be difficult to spot and can easily pull even strong swimmers out to sea. If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight against it. Swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the current, then swim back to shore. If you can't swim to shore, call for help.

Keeping these helpful tips in mind will have you ready to enjoy the beach to the fullest knowing you are armed with the knowledge on how to enjoy it safely.

What Is Shark Week?

Shark Week, a popular annual television event, is dedicated to showcasing the fascinating world of sharks. It's a week-long celebration of these majestic creatures, aiming to educate viewers about their behavior and habitat.

Summer Shark Attack Stats

While JAWS and other popular shark media would have you believe that your risk of a shark attack is much greater than it is, the truth is the odds are in your favor. Recent attacks have put a spotlight on sharks once again, but as we head into shark week it's important to note that scientists estimate the odds of experiencing a deadly shark bite is less than 1 in 236-million. While low, it is not impossible, so it is best to be prepared and to know what to do should you see a shark in the water.

What to Do if You See a Shark in the Water

Encountering a shark while swimming can be a frightening experience. Knowing what to do can help you stay safe. Here are some steps to follow if you see a shark in the water:

Stay Calm: It’s natural to feel scared, but try to remain calm. Sudden movements can attract the shark’s attention.

Avoid Splashing: Splashing and erratic movements can mimic the behavior of prey. Try to keep your movements smooth and minimal.

Slowly Back Away: If the shark is nearby, start to slowly back away towards the shore. Keep the shark in your sight as you move.

Do Not Turn Your Back: Always face the shark as you retreat. Sharks can be more likely to approach if they sense that you are unaware of them.

Signal for Help: If there are lifeguards or other people nearby, signal for help without causing a panic. Use hand gestures or call out calmly.

Get Out of the Water: Once you’re close enough to shore, exit the water calmly and quickly. Warn others as you do so, but avoid causing a stampede.

Notify Authorities: Report the sighting to a lifeguard or beach official immediately. They can take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of other beachgoers.

Avoid Swimming at Dusk or Dawn: Sharks are more active during these times. Try to swim during daylight hours when visibility is better.

Stay in Groups: Sharks are more likely to approach individuals swimming alone. Always swim with others.

Follow Local Advice: Pay attention to local advisories and flag warnings. Beaches often have systems in place to warn swimmers of potential shark activity.

By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of a shark encounter and help ensure the safety of yourself and others. Remember, shark attacks are rare, and sharks are typically not interested in humans as prey.

sand castle on the beach

Other Common Beach Injuries

While shark attacks capture headlines, there are other common beach-related injuries to be aware of:

Sunburns and Heatstroke: Spending hours under the sun without adequate protection can lead to painful sunburns and even heatstroke. Apply sunscreen generously, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM).

Drowning and Rip Currents: Rip currents are powerful, fast-moving channels of water that can drag even strong swimmers away from shore. If caught in a rip current, remain calm, swim parallel to the shore until you're out of the current, and then swim towards the shore. If you can't escape the current, tread water, and wave for help.

Sprains and Fractures: Beach terrain can be uneven or slippery, leading to slips, falls, and injuries such as sprained ankles or fractures. Be cautious when walking on wet sand or near rocks, and wear appropriate footwear.

Boat Accidents: Boating is a popular beach activity, but it comes with risks. Always wear a life jacket, follow boating safety rules, and never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol. Be aware of other watercraft, swimmers, and marine life.

Pedestrian Accidents: With the hustle and bustle of beachgoers, pedestrian accidents can occur, especially in crowded areas. Always be aware of your surroundings and watch for vehicles when crossing streets or parking lots.

Dog Bites: Many people bring their dogs to the beach. Always approach unfamiliar dogs with caution, and if you bring your own pet, ensure they are well-behaved and on a leash.

Bicycle Accidents: Many beach areas have designated bike paths, but accidents can still happen. Wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, and be mindful of pedestrians and other cyclists.

Golf Cart Accidents: Golf carts are popular in many beach communities for their convenience. However, they can be particularly vulnerable in collisions with cars. To stay safe, always follow all traffic laws and be extra cautious when driving near roadways. Ensure that your golf cart is visible to other drivers, avoid excessive speeds, and never drink and drive. By taking these precautions, you can reduce the risk of accidents and enjoy a safer beach experience.

If you have been injured at the beach and want to know your options, give Wettermark Keith a call and we’ll review your case for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shark attacks are natural and unpredictable events that are nearly impossible to prevent or control. As such, holding someone legally responsible for a shark attack on a public beach is almost impossible. Beach authorities and local governments can implement warning systems and safety measures, but they cannot guarantee a shark-free environment. Swimmers assume the natural risks of the ocean, and legal precedents typically do not support claims of negligence for shark attacks, recognizing the inherent unpredictability of wildlife.

While most shark attacks won't qualify, certain beach accidents may require the assistance of a lawyer. These include slip and fall incidents due to poor maintenance, drowning or near-drowning events where lifeguards were negligent, boat or watercraft accidents resulting from operator error or lack of safety equipment, and bicycle or pedestrian accidents caused by reckless behavior or unsafe conditions. Additionally, golf cart collisions, dog bites due to owner negligence, motor vehicle accidents on beach roads, and injuries from hazardous marine life with inadequate warnings may also be grounds for legal help. Consulting a personal injury attorney can help determine if you have a viable claim.

The requirement for lifeguards on duty at public beaches varies depending on the location and local regulations. In some areas, especially those with high visitor traffic or known hazards, local governments or managing authorities may mandate that lifeguards be present during certain hours. However, not all public beaches are required to have lifeguards, and the level of safety measures can differ significantly. It is important to check local guidelines and beach signage for information on lifeguard availability and always exercise caution when swimming in unguarded waters.

Local officials can potentially be held liable if they forget to change the beach flag warning and this oversight leads to an injury or accident. The liability would depend on whether the officials had a duty to update the flag warnings, if they breached this duty by failing to update the flags, and if this breach directly caused harm. If it can be proven that their negligence in updating the warning flags resulted in an injury, affected parties might have grounds for a legal claim. For personalized advice, it’s best to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate the specifics of the case.

Whether dogs are allowed on public beaches depends on the specific regulations of the beach in question. If you were bitten by a dog on a public beach, it's important to understand the local leash laws and regulations. Many beaches that allow dogs have specific rules, such as requiring dogs to be on a leash or only permitting them in designated areas. If the dog owner violated these regulations, they could be held liable for the incident. To determine if you have a legal case, call Wettermark Keith for a free case consultation. Our personal injury attorneys can assess the circumstances of the dog bite and the applicable local laws to help you understand your options.

 

Beach Accident? Call Wettermark Keith For A Free Consultation

Accidents can happen even in the most enjoyable settings, like a day at the beach. Whether you've been injured in a slip and fall, a boating mishap, a dog bite, or any other type of beach-related incident, you don't have to navigate the aftermath alone. At Wettermark Keith, our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you understand your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you get back to enjoying the sun and sand with peace of mind. 

At Wettermark Keith™, we have an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. We offer a diverse range of practice areas, including personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security, and VA disability, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients' stories and make their voices heard. We achieve this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust.

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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