Florida is a water lover’s paradise, whether you enjoy spending your time in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, or nearby lakes. However, enjoying the water does come with some responsibility.
You must make sure you understand what it takes to stay safe when enjoying Florida’s beautiful coast. Therefore, here are three water safety tips to ensure you know how to handle everything from sharks to sunburns.
1. Always Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
One of the most important Florida water safety tips is to stay alert! During the summer months, when most people go boating or enjoy the beach, is when Florida develops sudden storms and other strange weather.
To protect yourself, we urge you to go out, and enjoy the day, but don’t underestimate the importance of boating safety. This includes knowing how important it is to avoid:
- Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol can make you less alert to what is going on around you, which can also lead to boating accidents.
- Venturing Into Unknown Areas: If you do not know the water, and your way back to shore, you shouldn’t go far out on your boat in pursuit of fish.
- Have Snacks and a Way to Shield Yourself from Inclement Weather: Always pack more food and drink than you need for the people on board and provide yourself with even a makeshift shelter for stormy weather.
- Dress in Layers and Sunblock: Layers will protect you not only from severe sunburns but will also give you something to wear if the temperature fluctuates a lot while you are out.
2. Protect Yourself and Your Belongings
Whether you are on the beach or in a boat, protecting yourself and your belongings is very important. Some things to consider are:
- Cell phones, jewelry, and other items can get lost easily because they may fall into the water.
- Having first aid kits can help protect you and your family if someone gets injured.
- Wearing life jackets, even if you are an excellent swimmer, can protect you in the event you get caught in a rip current or fall off your boat.
3. Respect the Water
This may seem like a strange concept to someone who doesn’t live in Florida, but you should always go into the water understanding that you are the uninvited guest. Knowing what to do in the event of an encounter with a shark or how to avoid encounters with other wildlife is a key water safety tip for all visitors and residents.
In 2021, there were 73 unprovoked cases of shark bites occurring in the world, according to the Florida Museum at the University of Florida. Of these bites, 47 were in the United States and 28 in Florida. Only one was fatal.
If you are concerned that you could be injured while in the water, you should know it is unlikely. However, there are things you can do to further prevent it. For instance:
- Avoid Brightly Colored Swimsuits: White, yellow, and fluorescent colors may attract a shark’s attention. A better option is blue, black, and other dark colors.
- Avoid Excessive Splashing: Sharks may come closer to see what the noise is all about.
- Avoid Behaving Like Prey: There are photographs of sharks swimming near humans without attacking. However, splashing around, making loud noises, not paying attention to your surroundings, etc. can make you look like lunch.
- Know What to Do If You Encounter Sharks and Other Sea Life: Swim away slowly while maintaining eye contact with the shark. If you know that jellyfish are around, you will want to avoid getting in without protection. There are lotions and protective suits to consider if you cannot avoid the water. Stingrays hide just beneath the sand. To avoid getting stung by them, you should shuffle your feet as you enter the water.