First Alert Weather Academy: Summer Beach Safety Tips

First Alert Weather Academy: Summer Beach Safety Tips

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - With many people already visiting the coast and Summer just around the corner, it’s important to brush up on a few safety tips before your next trip to the beach.

Rip currents aren't uncommon along the Georgia and South Carolina coastline, which is why it's important to know how to spot them and how to escape if caught in one.

The weather doesn't have to be bad for rip currents to occur, in fact, wave heights only have to be about two to three feet for them to form.

Typically, rip currents form around sand bars, jetties and piers.

Look for an area where the waves are not breaking and water is getting pushed out to the ocean.
Look for an area where the waves are not breaking and water is getting pushed out to the ocean. (Source: NOAA)

Most rip currents are 50 to 100 feet wide and can pull water out over 100 yards away from the shore.

Before getting in the water, scan the waves to see if any water is being pulled out, check to see what flag is flying for current conditions and try to swim by a lifeguard.

Knowing what flag is flying for the day is important before deciding if you should go in the water
Knowing what flag is flying for the day is important before deciding if you should go in the water (Source: NOAA)

If caught in a rip current, don't fight it. Since they are pulling water away from the shore, use your energy to swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.

Use your energy to try and swim parallel to the shore if possible.
Use your energy to try and swim parallel to the shore if possible. (Source: WTOC)

If the current is too strong, wave for help and get the attention of nearby swimmer or lifeguards.

Another hazard we face this time of the year is the high amount of solar UV radiation.

Exposure to solar UV radiation can lead to leathery skin, wrinkles, sun burn and even skin cancer.
Exposure to solar UV radiation can lead to leathery skin, wrinkles, sun burn and even skin cancer. (Source: WTOC)

Many summer afternoons are in the very high (8-10) to extreme (11+) range. This means you will begin to burn in under 15 minutes.

People with sensitive skin can burn in as little as five minutes if unprotected.

Dermatologists suggest using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wearing loose, long sleeves, a hat and sunglasses.

It is also important to take breaks from the sun and heat, even if that means sitting in the car to re-hydrate in the air conditioning.

These are simple reminders we sometimes look past in our excitement of our beach days. Have fun and be safe!

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