The beach and ocean are the hallmark of Florida living, but this does not mean it is something to take lightly. Ocean safety is important to know to make sure you get the most enjoyment out of watersports and reduce the chances of getting hurt.
We’ll walk you through some important tips to get down to make sure you stay safe on the open water.
Know your abilities
You have to ensure that you do not take too much upon yourself that you may be taking on unnecessary risk. Being overly confident in one’s own abilities, whether it’s piloting a boat or swimming deep in the ocean; can be a recipe for disaster.
Make sure to assess any ocean related situation with a clear head and a conserative assumption of one’s own abilities.
Enter the water feet first
Diving should be reserved for man made pools (designed for diving) and not the ocean. The beach and ocean alike are made and molded by mother nature, and you never know what you may be potentially diving yourself into.
Many people face serious injuries over the year because of diving headfirst into the water. Hitting rocks, wildlife, or debris are all likely when diving into the open ocean.
Protect your head and ensure to review your surroundings before entering the water feet first.
Use the buddy system
The open ocean is a big space and a lot can happen. It is always recommended that you go out on any excursion or water sport activity with a partner. This way if anyone is in danger, the partner can be a resource to help.
Going on your own means you take all potential risk on yourself, and this can prove extremely dangerous.
Read the safety signs
Signs are placed for an important reason, to keep everyone safe. Be sure to take the time to read signs whether they are placed on the beach, park, dock, or waterways.
These signs contain information that may prevent you from inflicting damage on yourself or others.
And it is important to note that signs are updated based on seasons, new information, new rules, or new regulation; so make sure to keep reading the signs even if you are familiar with the area.
Be careful with rip currents
Rip currents otherwise referred to as “riptides” or “undertow” are strong currents of water that extend from the beach towards the deeper ocean but are not very wide.
If you do get caught in one it can be difficult to get out. If you do get caught in one your natural instinct will be to swim to shore while the rip tide pulls you into the ocean.
The best way to escape the current will be to swim parallel to the shore, facing either direction. This way you’ll escape the current and be able to swim more easily towards the shore.
Have your phone with you
When on any boat or PWC you may want to avoid bringing your phone, for fear of getting it wet or getting distracted.
On the open ocean, a phone is a valuable tool that can be a lifesaver if a dangerous situation occurs.
For instance, getting lost can happen and the best frame of reference will be a GPS location that you can get from your phone. Don’t leave your phone and ensure you have it nearby if you need it.
Avoid the wildlife
In our backyard, Florida is home to many amazing creatures and wildlife. In our oceans we have a diverse ecosystem that ranges from cute turtles to sharks with their grey fin.
No matter what you may encounter in the ocean, make sure to keep your distance and avoid disturbing it. By avoiding it you avoid any potential threat to yourself and you allow the creatures to enjoy their life in their home.
Drink plenty of water
The ocean is a great body of water that you can not drink. Mixed with the salt and sun you can get dehydrated very easily.
If you are going out onto the beach or open ocean ensure you bring water with you to keep yourself hydrated.
Protect yourself from the sun
The open ocean has a lot to do, from riding on PWCs to diving; however all of these are taking place under the sun in our paradise of Florida.
And while the sun may be great especially in the summer, it can be dangerous to get too much of it.
Make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid any damaging UV rays from the sun. Even if it is a cloudy day, the UV rays still pass through and can damage your skin and cells.
Along with drinking water, protecting yourself from the sun can prevent dehydration as well.
We hope you take these tips to heart on your next voyage into the ocean. Ensuring your safety means that you’ll have more opportunities to enjoy what Florida has to offer in the future.
If you want to know more about how you can have fun on the open ocean speak with a watersports specialist here at Shark Watersports! Stay safe on the water, we hope to see you out here soon!