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Heading to the beach this weekend? Check out these safety tips

Tybee Ocean Rescue offers beach safety tips for the summer
Tybee Ocean Rescue Captain Matt Bowen offers safety tips for beachgoers this summer.
Tybee Ocean Rescue Captain Matt Bowen offers safety tips for beachgoers this summer.(WTOC)
Published: May. 27, 2022 at 2:00 PM EDT
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If you're headed to the beach this weekend, Tybee Ocean Rescue has some tips to make sure it's a safe trip for you and your family.

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Many are hitting the road and heading to the beach for the Memorial Day weekend.

That includes Tybee Island, where officials are expecting another busy holiday crowd.

To help make sure you and your family have a safe trip to the beach, Tybee Ocean Rescue Captain Matt Bowen offers these tips.

- HYDRATE: “Heat exhaustion can set in quickly and be potentially dangerous,” Capt. Bowen says.

- WEAR SUNSCREEN AND REAPPLY OFTEN: “We have a high UV index on the beach most days,” Capt. Bowen notes. “Sunburns can happen very fast and be very painful.”

- PAY ATTENTION TO THE FLAGS THAT DAY: “Swim within your limits,” Capt. Bowen says. He adds that Tybee Ocean Rescue asks all swimmers to stay within 50 yards of the shore for their safety.

- BE MINDFUL OF RIP CURRENTS: “Rip currents can pop up out of nowhere. The biggest thing to remember is rips pull you out, not under. Swim parallel with shore to escape them,” Capt. Bowen explains. “If you can’t seem to make it out of the rip current, simply float or tread water until it ‘spits’ you out at the end then swim back to shore. Signal for help by waving your hand in the air. Guards are very proactive about finding rips and monitoring them.”

- MONITOR THE WEATHER FOR DAYS YOU PLAN TO BE AT THE BEACH: “In the event of inclement weather, guards will clear everyone from the beach,” Capt. Bowen says. “We ask that everyone exits the beach and seeks shelter until the storm has passed.”

While those tips are applicable to all beach goers, Capt. Bowen also offered several more tips that specifically pertain to Tybee’s beach.

- STAY CLEAR OF THE PIER: “Make sure to stay 150ft away from either side of the pier when swimming,” Capt. Bowen says. “Sometimes the surf is stronger near the pier and can push swimmers into the pylons on the pier. Those pylons have many barnacles that can injure swimmers.”

- DON’T TRY THE SANDBAR: “The sandbar, although enticing, is incredibly dangerous. Due to the large tide swings we have, water levels get high and consume the sandbar faster than most people realize,” Capt. Bowen notes. “Due to the large tide swing, the current is much stronger than people realize. Even a well-seasoned swimmer find themselves getting swept away by the current. We ask that everyone avoid the sandbar for their safety and ours as responders.”

- BE MINDFUL OF BOAT WAKE: “On the north end near the large curve, be aware that ship wake can cause the water to rush all the way to the dunes and sweep beach goers into the water,” Capt. Bowen says. “It is very powerful and overpower many people.”

- GIVE THE GUARDS ROOM TO WORK: “To ensure guards have a clear zone to get equipment and vehicles to the water in the event of an emergency, please don’t set up within 15 feet of either side of the tower and leave a clear lane to the water,” Capt. Bowen asks. “When guards open towers for the day, they will mark this zone off with cones.”

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