Swimming in the ocean is an excellent outdoor activity for the whole family. However, any outdoor activity has its own set of safety issues that we should all plan for and recognize. When coming to the beach you will want to bring sunscreen, a beach towel, beach shoes, and perhaps an umbrella.
Before going in the water you will want to know the weather, who you can call for help if needed. If there are any water quality advisories, and the tidal cycles. Listed here are some known concerns for South Carolina waters and the precautions to consider before entering the surf.
Gastroenteritis is the most common illness associated with swimming in contaminated water. It occurs in a variety of forms that can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache and fever. Other minor illnesses that can result from swimming in contaminated water include ear, eye, skin, nose, and throat infections. Small children and individuals with weakened immune systems are most at risk of illness.
To stay safe and healthy at the beach:
For current surf and storm information, please visit: http://www.swellinfo.com/
A rip current can occur on any beach or body of water that has breaking waves. It is a strong channel of water flowing away from the coast, generally through the surf line,. Rip currents can move to different locations along the coast and can be deadly both to swimmers and those in waist deep water where the rip current occurs. The poster below from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes the escape route and actions you should take if you are caught in a rip current. Please visit NOAA's Web site to learn more.
Most jellyfish in South Carolina's coastal waters are harmless. You may see some washed up on the beach or you may encounter one in the shallow water they prefer. South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources has created a fact sheet on jellyfish that discusses prevention and what to do if you are stung.
Here are some other sites that might be of interest: