The Philippines is surely one of the most popular options when looking for a fun tropical island experience. Its beaches are some of the best in the world and its underwater life attracts interest from divers, snorkelers, and marine biologists all over the world.
While beach-bumming is indeed a fun activity, it’s undeniably true that danger can be lurking somewhere especially if we are not careful. So before you pack your stuff and head to the beach for a day or two of swimming, read this ocean and beach safety tips to err on the side of caution.
Before you get into the water, it is best to learn to swim as it is one sure way to lessen the risk of drowning. Always swim with caution and don’t get in the water if your life only depends on flotation devices. If your swimming skill is doubtful, consider swimming with a companion so someone will have your back in case of emergency.
Check the weather and beach condition
When traveling during the rainy season, make it a point to always check the weather forecast before the trip for a greater chance of avoiding rougher sea and stronger current. Avoid the beach if there’s lightning and wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before heading to the shore.
It is also important to remember to approach the water cautiously as the ocean floor is not flat and can drop off unexpectedly.
Look for a lifeguard
Look for a lifeguard and stay near the lifeguard post when swimming. The lifeguard is also the best person to ask about the beach condition and other safety guidelines and tips tourists need to know.
Use appropriate swimming gear
When doing underwater adventures such as diving and snorkeling, using appropriate swimming gear is highly recommended not only for comfort but for safety and protection as well. The use of rash guard helps prevent abrasion and rashes when doing various water sports. Additionally, it provides added protection against the harmful rays of the sun and prevents sunburn.
Water shoes help prevent abrasions when walking on wet, rocky surfaces or cuts and scrapes from broken corals and glass. Water shoe drains water quickly through the tiny holes on the bottom or sides of the sole. This makes the feet dry faster thus decreasing the risk of slipping and other similar accidents.
Protect your skin
Sunburn is painful and uncomfortable. Prolonged sun exposure can cause skin cancer, too. Prevent all these by applying sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) before you go out in the sun and reapplying after swimming. Choosing eco-friendly sunscreens and sunblocks is highly recommended as well to prevent bleaching and damaging the coral reefs.
Other ways to protect the skin and eyes from the harmful rays of the sun is the use of sunglasses, hats, and umbrellas.
Obey posted signs and flags
Signs and flags are placed to warn and instruct people about beach regulations and safety. Before you jump into the water, read the safety signs and if not sure about what the colored flag means around the beach, ask the lifeguard for it and what other tips you need to know.
Keep an eye on children and elderly persons
Young children and very old people should not be left on their own as they are the ones who are more likely to get into trouble on the beach. A few seconds of distraction can put their lives to danger.
Don’t drink and swim
Swimming mixed with alcohol is more likely to lead to disaster, injury or death. Apart from losing full control of balance and coordination, too much alcohol also affects judgment and making one become bolder to take risks.
Overexposure to the sun can cause dehydration which eventually causes dizziness and reduced energy. Remember to drink enough water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and up for more fun swimming.
Look out for marine life
Some underwater creatures such as jellyfish and sea urchin can be dangerous to people. Keep an eye on them and stay as far away as possible. Other things to look out for are barnacles and broken shells of mussels and clams. They can be very sharp and cause scrapes and cuts.
READ MORE: Sea Travel Tips for the Philippines