Officials remind families to stay safe at the beach

| August 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

The author took his sons Parker and Austin to the beach recently. Health officials remind parents to be aware when their children are near water.

Story and photos by

1st Lt. Jason Kilgore
U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Hawaii is filled with beautiful beaches and warm waters all year long, which makes for the perfect opportunity to enjoy its beaches all year.

Before going out, though, make sure to make safety the primary concern.
“Many people go to the beach without a safety plan,” stated Lt. Col. Kathleen Gerrie, the safety officer for U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks. “There are so many small things that we can do that makes a world of difference, such as applying sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen
“Being in the tropical paradise, means that the sun’s UV strength is much higher than most places,” Gerrie continued. “One of the most common preventative injuries that we see are sunburns.”

After the sunscreen has been applied, the next step is to run and jump into the cool, blue ocean.

“Plenty of the beaches on Oahu are patrolled by lifeguards, but there are extra precautions that can be taken to ensure a trip to the beach is a safe one,” stated Gerrie.

Be aware of rip tides
One major consideration that often gets overlooked is the rip current. This current is extremely easy to get into and very hard to get out of.
Rip currents are currents that can move in speeds up to 8 feet per second. These currents are fast moving. They start from the shore and flow outward, through the surf zone and into the ocean.

“Being able to identify the rip current can show where to avoid while swimming,” stated Gerrie. “There are also other dangers that aren’t caused by nature that we need to be aware of.”

Play safely
There are many dangerous sports that take place within the water, such as surfing, bodyboarding, snorkeling, cliff diving and SCUBA diving.
While all these events are fun, make sure to take the proper precautions before partaking in these events.

“In the past several years, there have been dozens of drownings in popular snorkeling spots,” stated Gerrie. “There has also been a high number of back and neck injuries from surfing as well.”

If uneasy about going in, talk to lifeguards about the water conditions and ask for their suggestion on where to swim and areas to avoid.

It is against the law to touch, restrain, jump over, pursue, harrass, feed or otherwise disturb turtles on Hawaii’s beaches. Beachgoers should view them from a distance.

Safety checklist  
Here are some things to do to ensure a safe time at the beach:

•When in doubt, don’t go out.
•Check the surf report before getting into the water.
•Talk with a lifeguard about the water conditions.
•Take a water safety course.
•Only swim at beaches that have lifeguards on duty.
•Wear sunscreen.
•Always SCUBA dive with a buddy.
•Bring U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation devices for weak swimmers.
•Never leave children unattended.
•Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before swimming.
•If you are not experienced, avoid going into the waters of the North Shore during winter. Waves can reach up to 70 feet.
•Properly secure your valuables in your vehicle – out of sight!

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Category: Health

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