St. Pete Beach Common Sense Swimming Rules
Florida is the place to come fun in the sun and one of those fun things to do is swimming. Whether you take dip in the hotel pool or in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico there are some basic common sense rules to follow to make sure that your vacation is a safe one.
Swim within the "Safe Bathing Areas", if marked, at all times.
Florida sunshine is intense. Please be careful when sunbathing and use sunscreen with a high SPF
Learn to Swim - Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning.
Never Swim Alone - Always swim with a companion. At the very least, have someone onshore who can call for help.
Don't Fight the Current - Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. If 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. The same forces that cause rip currents also cause longshore currents. These currents are most evident when waves hit the shore at an angle. This tends to cause the water to be pushed along the beach away from the direction of the oncoming waves. Usually, longshore currents are less hazardous than rip currents because they move along the shore, not away from the shore, but they can knock children and weaker adults off their feet.
More importantly, longshore currents can feed and increase the power of rip currents. In other words, the longshore current may move along the shore, then turn offshore to become a rip current.
Swim Sober - Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol impairs swimming ability and good judgement.
Don't Float Where You Can't Swim - Often, non-swimmers dangerously use floatation devices to go offshore, If they fall off, they can quickly drown. The only exception is a person wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
Don't Dive Headfirst, Protect Your Neck - Diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom can lead to serious, lifelong injuries, including paraplegia. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and then go in feet first the first time. Use caution while bodysurfing, always extending a hand ahead of you.