Here’s an acronym to remember when going to the beach: SOAK.


tudy the conditions before entering the water.

Best way to do this is to stand on the shore – possibly from a high point – and see where it’s safe to enter. Look for any h3 rip currents or areas with rough surf. This is also a good chance to stretch out before swimming or surfing.


bserve the activities of others in the ocean.

Are there a lot of swimmers or is it mostly bodysurfers and surfers? It’s likely to be safe if there are a lot of people swimming, but I would still check with a lifeguard or local just in case.

Ask the lifeguards about current conditions.

Because not every beach has a lifeguard, it’s best to go to one that does. You can find out more about the ocean conditions or where a safer beach would be.

Know your limits in the water.

As the saying goes, “When in doubt, don’t go out.” Don’t risk your life or the life of others if you have any hint of doubt in your mind. Even if you’re an in-shape athlete doesn’t mean those traits will always carry over to the ocean. The ocean has no mercy for anyone, so consider sitting on the beach or going to a safer beach nearby.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with ocean safety signs posted along the beach. Lifeguards put them up to warn beach-goers of possible dangers, from h3 rip currents to jellyfish. A red flag is usually flapping above the sign.

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