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by Kesha Stewart | Associate Writer
Summer is 365 days a year in Jamaica. That is part of the reason you're here on vacation. The three S’s: sun, sea and sand are as alluring to us as it is for you. We enjoy the sunny beaches and cool waterfalls as well.
However, a lot of Jamaicans aren’t swimmers or divers while others are pretty competent and some are a lot better than that.
Whether you can swim well or you are a shore dweller like me, there are some tips I'd like to share with you so that your day at the beach will be safe and fun and memorable for the right reasons.
To make sure the fun lasts and that you have only happy memories some caution is needed. If you’re an experienced swimmer or diver then this is a refresher course, please pay attention to these tips if you're otherwise.
Never go to the beach without a lifeguard on duty. You need that assurance in case an event requires emergency assistance. Look out for clear safety signs and warnings too. It's a good idea to check in with the lifeguard and always stay in his/her view.
When I say Respect the Ocean I’m not speaking of where you dispose of your trash (although you should), I want you to understand that the sea is a vast body of water. It can feel like a roller coaster; one minute you're walking steadily, and the next you're in a deep rut way over your head.
The ocean is dynamic. The weather can change and affect the water. During the hurricane season, we tend to have thunderstorms so if there is lightning leave the water and head for the shore. Be on the alert for these changes, especially if it's not a bright and sunny day.
The tide changes may be unfamiliar to you. The sandy shore you walked in the morning can disappear with the tide by afternoon. In short, look out for shifts in the tide.
Being wary of strangers is good and should always be so. However, if you are a party of one, you'll need extra eyes to see out for your safety. Make it a point to be in decent proximity to someone while you're in the water. Get your crew to follow safety recommendations if you’re not alone.
You can experience all kinds of unwelcome incidents while swimming, even if you are an expert. Mistakes in the water can be unforgiving at worst, frightening at best. Swimming requires endurance, physical strength and good technique.
You will also need to have even a basic understanding of the tide patterns so as not to endanger yourself. Never go for a swim while intoxicated or unwell and if you're not fit or are a beginner stay within your limits.
The lifeguard is trained to deal with emergencies. Allow him/her to take over in an emergency. We may react instinctively but not wisely. If you swim you spot someone in difficulty, raise an alarm for help before attempting to save them.
Remember someone in difficulty will be in panic mode and the results could be unfavourable. With CPR training, you may help the lifeguard with your services if needed.
Though it may be the last thing we think of, we could experience difficulties while in the water. If so, try not to panic. This, I know, was easier said than done. Next alert the person nearest to you or your swimming partner. Allow them to and allow them to seek help.
It is highly recommended that you have a swimming partner. However, whether you do or someone is just watching out for you, never leave for the shore without letting him/her know.
Be careful you may encounter hazards in the water like sea urchins, rocks, coral, and sharp objects discarded by litterbugs.
Be mindful of activities near you. For example, here people play a ball-tossing game in the water. There are others engaged in sports activities like jet skis, or motorboats. There will be a good deal of people on the shore and in the water engaged in their activities which can be distracting for you.
Now that you've taken note, just add money for beach entry and a cool drink, sunscreen, beach towel and cool sunglasses and you’re good to go.
Test out your know found knowledge on the sandy shores of these Jamaican beaches.
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Beach Safety In Jamaica | Written: September 02, 2022