Beach Vacation Safety Tips

PhotobucketIt's summer, and that means that many of you are packing up the kids for a greatly-anticipated timeshare rental family vacation at a beach. With so many wonderful beaches in our country, from Florida to California, it's easy making the decision to get a little sand and surf time.

For those of you who don't live by beaches, a beach vacation is probably in the category of a dream vacation for the family. We want to help you keep it that way. For beach novices - whether this is your first time at a beach or you only get to go once a year for a week - here are some timely tips to keep your family's beach vacation safe.

If you have small children, or even teens who are not strong swimmers, plan to spend your time at a public beach with lifeguards. Patrolled beaches will display colored flags indicating both safe and dangerous swimming areas. The actual colors of the flags can vary, so if you are unsure of the meanings of the colors, ask a lifeguard. This is also important if you are at a beach in a foreign country.

Be aware that as the day progresses, the position of these flags can change. The lifeguards constantly monitor the condition of the ocean, so the distance between the safety flags, indicating a safe swimming area, could shorten. Be constantly aware of the placement of the flags.

The San Diego Lifeguard Services also offers these beach safety tips:
  • Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present

  • If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don't swim against the current's pull

  • Protect your head, neck, and spine -- don't dive into unfamiliar waters -- feet first, first time

  • If you are in trouble, call or wave for help

  • Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances

  • Never turn your back to the ocean -- you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning
If you have children and are on a crowded beach, be aware that from the water all of the people, beach umbrellas, beach chairs, towels on the sand, etc., can look much alike. Plan to make your beach spot stand out so your child can easily find you. suggests that you personalize it by posting your family name to your beach umbrella, or make streamers in favorite colors and attach them to the back of your beach chair. Let your child help make a family flag from an old pillowcase and bright colored fabric paint. (And remember to pack it!) With some duct tape you can attach it to just about anything.

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