Fire Island Beaches : Ocean Safety

By Catrina Christensen

As the temperatures rise, more and more people are going to the beach.  It’s a place we all know and love.  All to often people forget that we need to respect the water.  Every summer along the beaches and bays, lifeguards protect the lives of everyone on the beach.

I wanted to share some basic water safety tips that myself and other lifeguards feel it is important to make sure people know.  Please just read through them, because you never know when you might use it!

  1. Respect the water.
  2. The different color flags on the beach represent different water conditions.

-Green: Low hazard

-Yellow: Swim with caution

-Red: High Hazard-Strong surf/currents

-Crossed Red Flags: Swimming prohibited.

3. Listen to the lifeguards and only swim while they’re on duty.  Hours, months, years have been put into training and gaining experience to ensure your safety.

4. Don’t swim while impaired.  Every year guards make so many saves on people who have been drinking or using drugs

5. Watch your children.  All it takes is one wave, he or she getting tired, or just wander off for something to happen.

6. Don’t turn your back to the water.

7. Learn about rip currents and how to get out of them.

8. Lean how to swim.

9. Don’t swim alone.

Last summer there was a terrible tragedy in Ocean Beach where a young man went swimming at night and drown.  The water conditions changed from being calm all day to rough at night.  With no way to really tell, it became an extremely dangerous situation.  We need to remember this and learn from this horrific tragedy to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Overall, the beach is the best place to be, so just be mindful of what you do while there.  Look out for yourself and those around you.  Play it smart and safe, but overall have an amazing time!

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