Here in Tampa, where one of the first things people think about is the beach, beach and sun/water safety is of the utmost importance. Beach safety for kids and adults alike in Tampa looks just a bit different than other places just due to a few extra little details. Here are some great beach safety tips, specific to Tampa and Florida beach safety. I speak about lightning and rip current safety and sun exposure.
Ready to make a move to the Tampa area? Schedule a chat with me here: https://calendly.com/kmmeck
Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, and many animals. The human illnesses caused by harmful algae blooms, though rare, can be debilitating, or even fatal.
While many people call these blooms ‘red tides,’ scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom. One of the best known HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast (right here in the Tampa area). This bloom, like many others, is caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins may also make the surrounding air difficult to breathe. As the common name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.
HABs have been reported in every U.S. coastal state, and their occurrence may be on the rise. HABs are a national concern because they affect not only the health of people and marine ecosystems, but also the ‘health’ of local and regional economies.
To limit your sun exposure, bring an umbrella to the beach and stay in the shade. Wear a hat and sunscreen when you are out in the sun. Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and whenever you get out of the water.
Directly from the National Weather Service:
- Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand: Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Check the UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities and prevent over exposure to the sun. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.
- Know the day’s UV Index: Visit EPA’s UV Index Web Page
- Get the free UVI smartphone app from EPA
- Subscribe to EnviroFlash for UV Index forecast and alert notification emails. EnviroFlash provides free UV Index information in the location of your choice. This service provides notifications about UV Alert days as well as next day UV Index forecasts.
- Find out more about UV safety
Lightning And Storms
Lightning is a real beach hazard. The second greatest cause for lightning fatalities are beach activities!
- Fishing is the leading cause of lightning fatalities: fishermen are on piers, large rocks and sandy beaches as well in boats
- General beach activities such as sunbathing, playing ball, etc. is the second highest cause of lightning fatalities
- Camping is the third highest cause of lightning activities
There are a number of reasons why beach activities contribute to so many fatalities:
- The sound of thunder is hidden by the sounds of the surf and people having fun.
- Safety, typically a car or other vehicle, may be some distance away.
- Along the U.S. East Coast, people are generally facing to the ocean in the east but many storms come from the west.
Enjoy your time at the beach but keep these recommendations in mind:
- Keep a watchful eye to the sky IN ALL DIRECTIONS and head to a safe place immediately at any sign of an approaching or developing storm
- Monitor the forecast and radar on a phone or other electronic media and get to a safe place, such a vehicle or large, fully enclosed building (not a picnic shelter or other opensided structure).
- When camping on the beach, have a hard-topped metal vehicle nearby and head into it at the first sign of a thunderstorm.
Rip Tides And Rip Currents
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes.
Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer.
Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by swimming straight back to shore—putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.
Lifeguards rescue tens of thousands of people from rip currents in the U.S. every year, but it is estimated that 100 people are killed by rip currents annually. If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle.
While the terms are often confused, rip currents are different than rip tides. A rip tide is a specific type of current associated with the swift movement of tidal water through inlets and the mouths of estuaries and harbors.
Hi! I’m Kaitlyn, a Real Estate Agent in the Tampa Bay area, born and raised right here in the Riverview area. I love to help people find the home of their (and their dog’s) dreams. I also love crafts, yoga, and auto sports (mostly drag racing). Subscribe to my Youtube Channel for more info on Riverview and the Tampa area. Or you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram.