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BEACH SAFETY


Beach Safety Sun Protection Jellyfish High Surf
Shore Break Groins Rip Currents Red Flags
Safety Tips National Statistics

Beach Safety:

Rehoboth Beach lifeguards make every attempt to ensure that our beach patrons have a safe and enjoyable stay while visiting our beaches.  The purpose of the following information is to educate our visitors in an effort to minimize preventable accidents.  If you have any questions regarding this information, please ask a lifeguard to review the current conditions before entering the water. 

Sun Protection:
Be sun safe and sensible!  Beach visitors who are not use to the suns rays, and especially those with fair skin, should use a broad spectrum sun block with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, or maybe even 21 or higher  (Many of our lifeguards use 30+ SPF.)  Apply it at the beginning of your sun session and re-apply it at least every two hours.  Dont wait until the day is half over or until your skin starts feeling hot or looking pink: by then it is too late.  The suns rays are most intense between 10am and 4pm. Please pay extra attention to young children, as they are extremely susceptible to the suns harmful rays.  Dont forget to wear your sunglasses and wide brimmed hat!

Jellyfish:

Jellyfish are very common off the beaches of Delaware.  Highest concentrations will be found in August and September.  Most Jellyfish are non-stinging and can be ignored. However, if you are stung, follow these simple recommendations to help alleviate the pain:

      Do not rub

      Rinse with fresh water

      Apply ice or baking soda to control the pain

      Be patient, irritation usually lasts 10-15 minutes 

High Surf: 
Large powerful waves are generated by winds and storms at sea, sometimes thousands of miles from the Delaware coast.  Usually, high surf conditions occur during August and September due to tropical weather.   If you are uncertain of your abilities, dont go into the ocean during these times.  Your life could depend on it! Surf reaching the shores of Delaware may reach heights of 8 feet plus. 

Shore Break: 
This is a condition when waves break directly on the beach.  Shore breaks are unpredictable and dangerous.  They have caused many serious neck and spinal injuries to both experienced and inexperienced bodysurfers and swimmers.  Remember, small waves can be dangerous too.   

Groins (Jetties):
A groin is a rigid structure (wood and/or stone) built out from the beach to protect the beach from erosion.  There are 13 groins located within the city limits.KEEP CLEAR.  These structures are extremely dangerous and can potentially claim your life.  Shore break, strong currents, and high surf can cause a swimmer to inadvertently encounter a groin.  Make sure you are fully aware of their location at all times.

Rip Currents:

What is a Rip Current?
This is what a RIP CURRENT looks like when it is on the surface. 
Often called undertows, these powerful currents pull even experienced swimmers away from shore.  Panic and drowning often result.  The currents are formed when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path.  This happens when there is a break in a nearshore sandbar or the current is diverted by a groin, jetty or other barrier.  Rip currents can extend 1,000 feet offshore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph.  Some are present a few hours, others are permanent.  Rip currents are more prevalent after storms.

Telltale Signs of Rip Currents:

      A difference in water color either murkier from sediments or darker from greater depth

      A difference in waves larger, choppier waves in the rip current; smaller, calmer waves in front of the bar.

      Foam or objects moving steadily seaward.

      An offshore plume or turbid water past the sandbars. Polarized sunglasses cut glare and help to spot rip currents. 

What To Do:
If youre caught in a rip current, dont panic or swim against the current.  Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current.  Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide.  If you cant break out of the current, float calmly until it dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers.  Then swim diagonally to shore.  If you dont swim well, stay in wading depths and watch for sudden drop-offs. 

Red Flags:
Red Flags indicate the area in which beach-goers are permitted to swim.  If you are unsure of their location, a lifeguard will be happy to point them out.  Swimming out side of the red flag area may lead to an undesirable result such as injury, lifeguard assistance or even possible drowning. 

Safety Tips:

      Swim near a lifeguard

      Never swim alone

      Dont dive into unknown water or into shallow breaking waves

      Ask a lifeguard about beach and surf conditions before swimming

      If you are unable to swim out of a strong current, signal for help

      Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device

      Look for, read and obey all beach signs, symbols and regulations.

      When in doubt, just stay out!

 

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