Outer Banks Ocean Swimming Safety Tips


outer-banks-swimming-tipsIf you decide to swim in the ocean on your Hatteras Island vacation, check out these safety tips before you and your family hit the water.

Rip Currents

One of the most important things to remember while swimming in the ocean is that you must be educated and mindful of rip currents. The ever-changing wind, waves, and tides and the slope of the beach can cause strong currents even on calm days. Keep in mind that rip currents can form in low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.

If you get caught in one, always swim across the current, parallel to the shore, and slowly make your way back to the beach at an angle. Never try to swim against the current as you will quickly become fatigued. Remain calm and try to signal for help if you need it.

Here are a few more tips to help keep your family safe while playing in the ocean.

·Always swim where a lifeguard is on duty and ask he/she about the water conditions when you arrive.

·Look for red flags—these are in place to alert beachgoers that the water is dangerous.

·Never dive into the ocean, even if you can judge the depth of the water. Always go in feet first.

·Never take your eyes off your children or elderly family members while they are in the ocean.

·Never swim at night, dusk, or dawn. These are the times when certain fish are the most active.

·Remove shiny jewelry before you swim in the ocean. You don’t want to attract the attention of anything swimming below the surface of the water.

·Never swim near anyone who is surf fishing or near a fishing pier.

·Due to strong currents, never swim in inlets.

·Watch for darkening skies. Leave the water and the beach immediately if a storm is approaching.

·Never swim in rough seas. The water might slam you against the ocean floor.

·Never swim out to deep water. You should always be able to reach the ocean floor with your feet and be able to stand with your torso out of the water.

·Watch out for jellyfish.

·Never swim near surfers.

·Never enter the water if you are intoxicated.

·Watch out for floating debris.

·Never touch a marine animal, dead or alive.

·If you see a large wave approaching and you don’t have time to get out of its path, try to dive underneath it.

·Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

·Watch out for your follow swimmers. If someone is in trouble, alert a lifeguard. If one is not available, call 9-1-1. The American Red Cross suggests that you throw the victim something that floats such as a lifejacket, an empty air-tight cooler, or an inflatable ball, if possible.

Have a happy, safe vacation at the Outer Banks!