As a lifelong professional lifeguard, Christopher Denn loves this time of the year. Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the unofficial start to the summer season and beaches along the coast will be welcoming back beachgoers for another summer filled with fun in the sun. There will also be countless families headed back to their local swim club looking to enjoy the chance to create new memories at their local pool. Christopher Denn takes beach and pool safety very seriously as a professional lifeguard. This article will serve as a resource for parents and anyone else looking to ensure everyone in their group remains completely safe in the water.
The first bit of advice from Chris Denn to any swimmer is always to swim where a lifeguard is on duty. While it is true that the beaches that have lifeguards present will typically be more crowded than those without lifeguards, this minor inconvenience is well-worth something that could save a life. Public pools will typically need to have a professional lifeguard on duty in order to be open to the masses, but the beach is easily accessible at all hours. If a person finds themselves on the beach without a lifeguard, they should always have another person in the water and a person who can watch them from the shore. Still, Christopher Denn advises against swimming without a lifeguard present.
Different beaches have different flag colors to represent the portions of the water that are under lifeguard supervision. Swimmers should always stick to this area. Lifeguards not only mark off sections based off of an area they are assigned, but they also will access the best swimming areas. People should also know that a lifeguard may whistle for them to come closer to the shore if they swim too far out. Lifeguards just want to make sure they can reach each swimmer in a timely manner should they start to experience an issue.
In addition to the flags that designate where a lifeguard is on duty, there are usually safety signs that give swimmers an idea of the conditions they will be dealing with out in the water. Common beach warnings can include strong currents, sudden shallow water, submerged rocks, and rough surf. Christopher Denn recommends looking out for these signals as they will give a swimmer a good idea of how calm or rough the water is on a given day. The ocean can be unpredictable, but the average swimmer always prefers a calm day. If conditions are rougher, swimmers should avoid going in further than up to their waist height. If lifeguards believe the conditions are too rough even for experienced swimmers, they will shut down access to the water.
In the event that signs aren’t clearly visible, Christopher Denn encourages any concerned swimmer to ask their lifeguard about beach safety information. A lifeguard is always happy to inform the public of the day’s conditions as well as any other information they have about the specific beach. Parents would commonly ask Christopher Denn about everything from what to do if they get stuck in a riptide to the location of the nearest restroom. Lifeguards are always happy to help.
Even when lifeguards are on duty, Christopher Denn recommends swimming with a friend or family member. It’s nice always to have someone who could go and call for help in the event of an emergency. One of the most common issues for beachgoers is getting caught in a riptide current. If this happens, Christopher Denn suggests staying calm and waving for help. Fighting against the riptide is typically the worst thing a person can do as it will cause them to tire out, and they are unlikely to have much success swimming against the strength of the current. Wave a hand from side to side and yell only when necessary. It’s best to keep your full lung capacity. Every riptide current eventually comes to an end, those who remain calm will eventually find themselves able to swim back to shore.
No matter where you swim this summer, Christopher Denn wishes everyone a happy and healthy summer. Be sure to follow common safety rules and regulations no matter where you swim!