Swimming in the ocean takes different skills, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf. You should also swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone. And even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Other beach safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear approved life jackets in and the around water. No one should use any other type of floatation device unless they are able to swim.
  • Don’t dive headfirst—protect your neck. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly persons when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.