Beach Swimming 101: Can I safely swim in the ocean?

beach swimming safety tips

Many of those who have never been to the ocean before tend to ask the following question: “Can I safely swim in the ocean?” The answer is: “Yes.” Swimming in the ocean is generally a safe and exciting activity. However, with all of the recent shark attacks, it is a good idea to swim in a guarded area and pay close attention to your surroundings. So here are a few guidelines to help keep you safe when spending the day at the beach and swimming in the ocean.

Though there are a variety of circumstances, which can turn a leisurely swim in the ocean to a dangerous situation, it can be one of the most memorable parts of a vacation. As long as you know how to be safe, because swimming in the ocean has a lot more variables to consider as opposed to swimming in a pool even if it’s the best above ground pool. There can be a few unforeseen situations during any ocean swim. Below are some tips to staying safe during your visit to the beach:

  • Swim at a beach where the county has placed lifeguards. There are many locations along the coast where lifeguards are present during daylight hours.
  • Obey all posted instructions along the beach and follow lifeguard’s directions.
  • Swim at least 100 feet from all piers and jetties. These areas are more susceptible to rip currents.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses, which will allow you to see beneath the surface of the water. You will be able to see drop offs, marine life and sharp objects under the water’s surface much easier with the polarized sunglasses on.
  • Do not swim alone. Always swim with a buddy who either can assist should you need help or be able to go get help.
  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye for any dangers including the threat of marine life.
  • Remember, if in doubt; do not go in the water.
  • Never dive. Always go feet first.
  • Avoid wearing anything shiny, such as jewelry or metal on swimsuits
  • Pay close attention to children and elderly visitors at the beach.

If there are concerns about the condition of the ocean at the time of swim, check with the lifeguard on duty. Ask them questions and how safe they feel swimming in the ocean would be at the time. They will give their honest opinion from personal experiences of being at the beach every day.


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