When you start planning your beach vacation in Panama City Beach, you probably don’t think about all the things that could go wrong. We don’t want you to! Your vacation should be a time to relax, kick back, and enjoy yourself.

But that said, there are a few simple things you can do to make your vacation more enjoyable, more pleasurable. They involve avoiding some of the common but deadly dangers at the beach, and they won’t ruin your fun at all. Let’s take at how to keep your vacation fun and safe at the same time.

Recognize the signs of drowning

If you’ve only ever seen someone in water distress or drowning in a Hollywood movie, you’ve never seen what it really looks like when someone’s drowning. There’s no flailing, no screaming, no begging for help. In many cases of drowning, in fact, the adults nearby have no idea that the person is drowning.

If you’re taking your kids near water, familiarize yourself with the real signs of drowning. Lifeguards have put together instructional videos designed to help parents recognize the signs of water distress or drowning in their kids. One great test – if you think someone’s drowning, ask “Are you okay?” If they can answer you, they’re probably fine. If not? Kids can slip under the water in thirty seconds. Get to them, and get there fast.

Be careful of holes on the beach

Digging holes in the sand is one of those quintessential joys of childhood, but if you’re not careful, joy can turn into tragedy. Every year, a few kids are killed when a hole that they’ve been digging collapses, trapping them under pounds of sand and suffocating them. A couple quick guidelines can keep everyone safer:

  • don’t dig holes that are deeper than the knees of the shortest person in your group
  • fill in any holes you dig before you leave the beach
  • if someone is trapped in sand, do not crowd them. Get immediate help, but the more people trying to excavate a person, the more pressure is put on the sand around them, and the more difficult it is to make progress.

Always have sunscreen

Sunscreen seems like an obvious choice every time you go to the beach, but it’s amazing how many people forget. Sunscreen is important on vacation for some obvious reasons; the first is that getting a sunburn is horrible, and can ruin your vacation. The second is that every time you damage your skin, you make it more likely you’ll eventually get skin cancer. Use sunscreen with the right SPF for you, and reapply regularly. Take breaks out of the sun to give your body a chance to cool off and rest.

Remember as well that the FDA recommends against using spray sunscreen on children because they’re not sure that the chemicals are safe for kids to breathe in.

Be aware of sunstroke

Heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too warm, and becomes dehydrated and loses salt. Symptoms include tiredness, weakness, and muscle cramps. Sunstroke or heatstroke is the next level of complication; the body becomes so affected that it loses the ability to regulate its temperature.

If untreated, heatstroke can be fatal.

Avoiding heatstroke is simple for most people who aren’t working or exercising in the sun. Basically, drink plenty of fluids, take breaks out of the sun to cool down, and avoid sunburns, as they affect your body’s ability to cool off. Be very cautious if someone in your group begins to vomit or seems confused or delirious. Young children in particular can be quickly affected by sunstroke, with catastrophic results.

You should also never leave a child in a parked car, especially in warm weather. Put something in the back seat along with your child to prompt you to look back there. Experts suggest your left shoe; you’ll quickly notice that you’ve forgotten something if you try to walk off with only one shoe on.

Water safety

At Adventures At Sea, we of course follow all Florida laws regarding safety on the water. Sometimes, this means requiring your party to wear life jackets. We know that people sometimes find them annoying, but we’ve also found that people tend to think of old, awkward, bulky life jackets. In recent years, designs have changed dramatically, and staying safe out on the water is much more comfortable than it used to be. And, after all – even strong swimmers can experience disaster. It could happen to anyone, and we want to make sure you stay safe.

Your beach vacation can be fantastic and fun. By making just a few small changes, you can also make sure it stays perfectly safe.