Lifeguards take the beaches for the summer

St Johns County Marine Rescue Lieutenant Jeremy Robshaw announced to Historic City News that a team of United States Lifesaving Association certified lifeguards will begin daily assignments guarding St Johns County beaches beginning tomorrow; Saturday, May 26, 2012.

From 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily from now until Labor Day weekend, an average of 16 lifeguard towers will be staffed.

Supervisors travel the coastline in various response vehicles; nearly 90 emergency personnel have been certified as ocean rescue responders and are housed at coastal stations.

As you and your family visit St Johns County beaches, keep the following beach safety tips in mind:

Swim near a lifeguard
Data collected over a ten-year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.

Learn to swim
Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who are not taught when they are very young tend to avoid swim instruction as they age — probably due to embarrassment. Swimming instruction is a crucial step to protecting children from injury or death.

Never Swim Alone
When you swim with a friend, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others. At least have someone onshore watching you when you swim.

Do not fight the current
80% of rescues by lifeguards at the ocean beaches are caused by rip currents. These currents are formed by surf and gravity. Once surf pushes water up, the slope of the beach and gravity, pull it back. This can create concentrated rivers of water moving offshore. Some people mistakenly call this an undertow, but there is no undercurrent, just an offshore current. If you are caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety.

Swim sober
Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. In fact it account for nearly 60% of drowning incidents involving adults. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Perhaps more importantly, both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.

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