Lifeguard Reveals 10+ Things People Should Never Do On The Beach

By Nick Hadji 8 months ago

Don't Crowd Each Other

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Going to the beach can be a great way for us to recharge our batteries and relax. So it's nice to find a spot on the beach where other people aren't going to bother us and get in your way. If the beach isn't too crowded then try and find a secluded spot for yourself away from others.Original content sourced from

Don't Share Your Food

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This doesn't mean you're banned from sharing food with your friends but actually that you should avoid sharing your food with the beach wildlife. This means seagulls (and sea lions or other sea creatures if you're lucky). It can be unhealthy for the gulls and it can also cause them to become more greedy and invasive than usual.

Don't Leave Your Trash Behind

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If there's one thing that you should never do at the beach it's leave your trash behind; take yourself a trash bag and clean up after yourself. You wouldn't leave it behind in your own home so why leave it at the beach. Maybe try and use some reusable containers, that way you can be more sufficient.

Don't Blast Your Tunes

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You probably wouldn't appreciate it if that the people near you on the beach started playing their music really loudly around you, so don't do it yourself. And more importantly if you do need to play music make sure that the content of the music is actually PG and suitable for your beach neighbours.

Don't Shake Sand In People's Faces

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Getting sand on our beach towels can be an annoying and frustrating experience, we like to keep them sand free so they're comfortable to lie on. But you're at the beach and there's always going to be sand on them; don't shake your towel free of sand, instead lift it up and give it a small shake in order to avoid getting sand in their eyes.

Don't Kick The Sand

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Just as shaking the sand off of our towels can be hazardous to the health of ours and other people's eyes, it can be just as negative if we kick the sand. It might be fun to try and attack our friends by kicking sand at one another, it won't be as fun when you're choking on sand or you can't see anymore.

Always Pay Attention To Lifeguard Warnings

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Lifeguards are looking over you for a reason, and they know when the conditions around the beach are suitable or not. Particularly, they know where you should and where you shouldn't be entering the water. Listen to them! If not you might find yourself thanking them after they pull you out the water.

Bury Your Beach Umbrella Properly

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If you don't bury your umbrella properly, not only might you lose the shade it provides when it blows away but you might also find that it could cause some harm to a number of people. There are hundreds of videos available showing people's umbrellas going flying, and the bottom of the pole can be quite sharp!

Don't Leave Any Items Overnight

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I don't mean leaving your towel necessarily, but I'm talking structures like Gazebo's that you might plan to re-use if you go back the next day. A number of problems might arise if you do this, one of which being that the tide might come in further to the coast than you think, or even you might find beach thieves have had their way.

Don't Swim Against The Tide

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We all enjoy having a dip in the ocean every now and then, but like we've already mentioned, you have to do it during a time in which its safe for you to do so. If you find yourself caught in the tide then don't try and fight back, it'll only tire you out and increase the risk of health issues. Just put your hand up as high as you can!

Don't Let Your Pets Run Off

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Your favourite four legged friend would probably love nothing more (except a few treats maybe) than to have free roam of the beach. But don't forget that the beach isn't particularly the safest place for a dog to spend its time, the sea can be dangerous due to it's high salt content, and salt in general can be damaging to your dog's paws.

Play Any Contact Sports

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Spending a couple of hours at the beach can be a great way to spend your day, and sports can make them even better. We all know that beach volleyball is a popular sport for coast-goers but you should avoid spending any time playing contact sports like tackle football or soccer.

Leave Your Phone Out

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Phones have become more and more important in our lives as technology improves, we don't like leaving them behind for too long. And it's important to avoid leaving them out at the beach as they are susceptible to overheating in the sun and above that, electricity and water have never been two to match.

Dehydrate Yourself

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It sounds stupid to suggest that you shouldn't dehydrate yourself but these sorts of essentials can go out the window when you're enjoying the sun. Make sure you have a way to drink cold water to keep yourself feeling okay, maybe bring a cooler or flask; their might even be a shop nearby.

Keep Your Dog In The Sun Too Long

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Much has been spoken about dogs being kept in the sun too much in recent years, you might have seen some social media posts regarding dogs and sunlight not mixing! If you see your little friend is panting a lot it could be a sign they're actually overheated, this is a lot more dangerous for dogs than it is for us.

Smoke Cigarettes

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You probably shouldn't smoke cigarettes in general, never mind just when you're at the beach; they can be extremely dangerous when it comes to your overall health. But at the beach you're also introducing those coastal winds that might end up blowing your smoke in to the faces of others, including children.

Play Drowning Games

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As a child you'll probably enjoy playing games revolving around playing in the ocean, and often they can result in forfeits where someone gets dunked beneath the surface of the water. The issues that could arise here are obvious, and it could take ingesting just the smallest amount of saltwater to cause huge problems.

Forget Your Sunscreen

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A lot of people tend to ignore just how dangerous it can be to not use sunscreen when they're at the beach, but it can be one of the most important things you decide to take with you! You might want to get a good tan, but instead you might be putting yourself at risk of getting skin cancer!

Shave Before Your Trip

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You might want to look great for your trip to the beach, and for a number of people, this includes shaving your legs to be skin smooth. You probably want to avoid shaving within a day of your trip as the cuts from your razor can be irritated massively by both the sand at the saltwater.

Drink Alcohol Excessively

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Lifeguards would probably prefer you didn't drink alcohol at all, but one or two cold cans would probably be okay. Despite this, drinking is typically illegal at most beaches and it can also be damaging to your body. Alcohol can cause you to feel dehydrated which obviously won't help if its a hot day.

Run On The Dry Sand

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Running at the beach has long been used as a way to improve the fitness of runners or athletes of some sort. But running on dry sand can be quite dangerous as you can kick up sand on others, an also you're more likely to step on something like a sharp rock that might send you flying. Stick to the wet sand!

Playing In A Crowd

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We've already discussed finding a secluded space to set up your stuff, and playing your music quietly; this continues when you want to play some beach sports. If you're buried within a crowd of others, you running around could be quite irritating for them (especially if you hit them with your frisbee).

Forget Your Sunglasses

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Just as your sunscreen can be great for protecting your skin, sunglasses are essential for protecting your eyes. However, despite them being quite expensive you need to buy some PROPER sunglasses and not just a cheap pair you bought for a couple $$$. They'll keep stronger rays out!

Ignore The Customs Of The Locals

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This goes for when you're visiting a beach you've never been too, especially if it's in another country. You might find that these other places have different expectations and customs than ones you're used too. For example, in many Asian countries having limited clothing can be seen as disrespectful.

Take Pictures Of Randoms

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This doesn't feel like something that needs to be said, but apparently people are found taking and sending pictures of people they don't know more often than you'd think. Basically, take the opportunity to keep memories of your day, but only of the people you know like your friends and your family.

Wear Suitable Sunscreen

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So we've already discussed how you MUST wear sunscreen, but some of the ones you can get off the market can actually be harmful to the environment. For example, some of the products you can purchase contain chemicals that can be damaging to the reefs or corals around the beach.

Harm The Wildlife

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It's really important that you try and leave any wildlife when you visit the beach as it is, leave them be basically. If you're lucky enough to witness dolphins or sea animals up close just admire them from afar, and if you come across starfish you can inspect them but don't feel like you need to pick them up and touch them.

Go To The Toilet In The Ocean

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There isn't much harm that really comes from urinating or pooing in the ocean, although there is a chance that salt water might cause you to feel uncomfortable. But all in all, it's also actually quite disgusting, imagine spending time in the ocean only to come across someone else's poo.

Have S*x At The Beach

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This seems like quite an obvious thing to not do at the beach, but it's probably more common than you'd think; it's even more popular at nudist beaches in Europe, even though they are still told not to do so. And amongst everything else, surely it isn't comfortable for either party??

Fight Anyone

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You probably shouldn't fight anyone anywhere, but deciding to fight someone at the beach just isn't it. Not only would you be putting your body at risk as a result of your fighting, you'll also end up probably feeling ashamed as you'll have been showing yourself up in front of a number of people around you, including children.

Lifeguard reveals dangers of the beach you need to know about: rip currents

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With the amount of work that lifeguards need to do - and hopefully there'll be a day where they have nothing to do at all! - rip currents provide the highest percentage of rescues they have to do, accounting for around 80% of their rescues. The average amount of people who die from getting caught in rip currents is 100 people a year. A rip current moves from the beach out into the water, in a very powerful way, meaning anyone in that particular area is going to get swept up in it. There should be a break in the pattern of waves as a warning sign of rip currents.

Swimming somewhere without a lifeguard

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Lifeguards can only save you if they're there to begin with, of course! Unfortunately some places won't always have a lifeguard on duty. It's a good idea to check ahead of time whether there's a lifeguard on duty for the beach you're planning on going to, especially if it's a big beach with strong waves. One of the biggest issues can be when one person or family risks the beach without a lifeguard, and then tons of other people follow because they think it's safe if the beach is full of people. If there isn't a lifeguard on duty, there should at least be signposted areas for the places you can swim in the water, so make sure to stick to those.

Any beach structure

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Some beaches don't just have miles of sandy beach and the water - they may also have a structure, like a long pier, viewing platform or jetty. All of these will be a risk for people visited the beach, particularly swimmers, even though they might seem appealing! This is because strong waves can push you into the structures and knock you out or injure you. Rip currents are also more likely to be found around structures in the water. If you find yourself drifting away from your designated spot to a structure in the water, then make sure to get back where you were!

Lightning strikes

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When you think of lightning strikes, you might never think of one happening at a sunny beach - but as we know, they can happen anywhere, at any time. With a lifeguard on duty, they should usually signal when a lightning attack is a risk by blowing their whistle. Lightning strikes put both swimmers and sunbathers at risk, so don't think you'll be okay just because you're not in the water. If you're spending a day at the beach and you hear thunder in the distance, that's your first early warning to get away. Some beaches even have a full lightning alert system.

Increasing your risks of drowning

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There are many things you can do alone that can increase your risks of drowning, without any outside influence, simply based on the decisions you make whilst at the beach and swimming. Nobody thinks they're going to drown if they can swim, but it's one of the biggest risks. The worst decisions you can make for drowning risks include swimming alone, swimming too far away from a lifeguard, swimming in spite of an illness or condition that makes you less able to cope with strong waves, not taking enough breaks to give yourself chance to catch your breath and rest your muscles, and not understanding your own swimming ability.

Be careful of the sun

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When you think of hazards at a sunny beach, the sun itself is probably the last thing on your mind. Your probably too concerned with checking the water strength, thinking about sharks or thinking about the changing weather. But the sun itself is not only one of the biggest hazards, but it's a hazard that's there for every second you're on that beach. If you subject yourself to this hazard often enough with regular beach visits, you're putting yourself at risk of extreme sunburn, UV damage, eye damage and even risks of skin cancer.

Dehydration is a huge risk

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Think about how much water you need to drink on a regular day sat at home to keep yourself hydrated. Now think about how much more water you're going to need on a hot beach all day, sweating and exercising on the sand or swimming in the sea. Drinking water at the beach is so often overlooked, because you forget, you don't realize how long it's been without a sip, you opt for a cold beer instead or you just can't be bothered to lug a tone of bottles with you when you've enough to carry! But getting dehydrated at the beach leaves a risk of heat exhaustion, and exhaustion isn't what you want when you're swimming.

High winds

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Everybody hopes, when planning a beach trip, that it's going to be a windy-less day and full of sunshine. But if you do happen to go to the beach when it's windy, this is one of the biggest risks, too. Not only does more wind mean huger, harsher waves, it can also mean more danger for surfers as well as swimmers. A windy day also means you're less likely to feel a very strong burning sun sensation on your skin because of the cool breeze - so you're also more at risk of not realizing you're burning, or thinking it's cooler than it actually is.


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Pollution can cause more than one risk: the risk of illness, and the risk of injury. Sometimes, you might not be able to see obvious pollution on the beach, either, because it could be floating on - or under - the water, or hidden in the sand. Some beaches are strewn with pollution, making it easier to spot, but you wouldn't want to go there anyway! Animal waste and sewage waste in the water can pose risks to swimmers. You can also expect injury from waste left behind on the beach, whether from animals or from careless beachgoers leaving trash behind.

Dangerous wildlife

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When you think of wildlife threats at the beach, you're bound to be focused on things like sharks - understandably - but that's what makes it more dangerous, because you might overlook the little things you should look out for. Wildlife on the sand can be a hazard if you're walking, like crabs, shellfish, even jellyfish that have washed up on shore. In the water, you're at risk of sting rays and jellyfish, as well as certain fish or crustaceans. Certain birds may be common on some beaches, too, which can target beachgoers with food (as we know when it comes to the seagulls!).


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While normally at the beach you will get waves that break a long distance from the shore and then you have the small, whiter foam wave close to the beach. Shorebreaks are when the waves break directly onto the shore, which means the wave stays bigger for longer and has a more unexpectedly strong crash on the shore. You can never predict how big or small they're going to be, which is what makes them more dangerous. The wave will move from deep to shallow water so quickly that it can cause a huge crash. The injuries you can get from being thrown in a shorebreak are so bad they could include damage to your spinal cord.

Sand holes

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Everybody likes a little digging at the beach, especially if you're trying to build a sandcastle, or build one of the holes that you can sit or stand in to scare your friends. While it may be fun in the moment, sand holes - especially in areas of the beach with low visibility - can be dangerous for a few reasons. They can be dangerous for you if you stand in one, because you might have made it too deep so that you can't get back out again. You're not going to be able to get a firm footing on sand to pull yourself up! Secondly, if you dig a deep hole and leave it there, someone else may fall into it - getting stuck themselves or injuring themselves.

Algal blooms

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Algal blooms - or Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) officially - are also known as red tides, due to their color. The color comes from the large populations of algae in the water that then 'blooms' as this red color, staining the water. The reason these are a risk and not just something pretty to look at it, is because some of them can be toxic - and you're not going to be able to tell which just by looking. They can be toxic to both humans and marine life. You can either be at risk by swimming directly in the red tide area, or by eating shellfish which has been contaminated by this algal bloom water.

The quality of water

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You can usually tell looking at coastal water whether you'd like to take a dip or not, but some people choose to risk a less-than-turquoise water. And, on a cloudy day, it's hard to tell whether the water just looks grey or if it's low water quality. Most beaches with bad water quality will be officially closed, but you can never know. This contamination can come from water moving from land to the coastal waters, resulting in it possibly being affected by septic systems that haven't worked properly, hazardous substance spills or sewage from boats or even pets.

Marine debris

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The sad fact about wanting to take a swim in the beautiful ocean water is that it's victim to so many things that have been dropped there that don't belong. You can expect hazards like abandoned fishing gear - which can obviously be very dangerous to both animals and people if caught in it - plastic, metal, textile materials and even whole abandoned boats or vessels. The litter or debris that you often see strewn on beaches is just washed up from the water itself, and it makes it one of the biggest hazards to beachgoers.

Shark attacks

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While shark attacks are less common than people think, they are naturally a threat you definitely still need to worry about! And always worth checking the biggest shark attack hotspots before traveling to a new beach. Shark attacks are most likely close to the shore rather than out in deep water, surprisingly, and this is because sharks can often become trapped in the shallower water at a low tide. The best way you can avoid a shark attack - after checking before you go - is to not swim alone, don't stray too far from the shore, and definitely don't go swimming with a wound that may be leaking blood!

Jellyfish stings

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Jellyfish is another thing that swimmers - and beach walkers - need to be aware of, and they're naturally harder to spot than sharks! You can usually find the hotspots for dangerous jellyfish areas if you research ahead of time, and most places will have warnings actually on the beach of jellyfish dangers. Definitely don't go close to jellyfish that have washed up on shore, because even if they look dead, they might not be, and if they're still wet, their stingers can still work! You should always seek attention from a lifeguard or doctor straight away for jellyfish stings.

Falling coconuts

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It may sound funny or something social media worthy, but really this is a huge danger that a lot of people take for granted. Coconuts are extremely heavy, and if they're falling on your head from a great height, so you can expect a concussion or even a fractured skull. There are some reports that expect the weight of a falling coconut on your head to be something around one metric ton at least. So the best thing you can do is make sure you're not setting up your beach station under a palm tree! And be careful if you're walking under them.

Certain poisonous trees

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Speaking of trees - the manchineel tree is a very poisonous tree located at certain beaches that you'll want to steer clear of, too. It's particularly the fruit that you need to be careful of, which can be recognized as small green apple-looking fruits that may be lying on the sand of the beach in the Caribbean. It's also known as the 'death apple', which isn't good! You shouldn't be eating anything you find lying on a beach anyway, but especially not this fruit, as it can cause blisters in the throat and mouth, as well as being toxic. The good news is that some beaches do put signs up for manchineel trees as a warning.


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Stingrays are definitely something you need to watch out for as a swimmer, and it's one easily forgotten about when you're thinking about sharks and jellyfish. If you see one swimming by, don't panic too much - generally they're safe if they're swimming (ideally away from you), but it's the ones buried in the sand at your feet you need to worry about if you're walking through the water. If you step on one - well, you can imagine. They have stingers for a reason! You're also more likely to get stung on your lower leg or ankle rather than the bottom of your foot, because they have a barbed tail they swing up.