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Bradenton Beach: 7 Safety Tips

for Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Beyond

Sep 23, 2015


Bradenton Beach is located on the beautiful Anna Maria Island. Ranked high on The Best Beaches list, Bradenton Beach offers spectacular sunsets, opportunities for quality rest and relaxation, and a laid back lifestyle. The beach also offers great food and drink options as well as bird watching, seashell hunting and water activities in the pristine Gulf of Mexico.

Get the most out of your time at Bradenton Beach by following these 7 safety tips. 

1.     Know How to Swim

Swimming in the ocean is not the same as swimming in a pool because you are dealing with waves, currents and undertows. Before you enter the water, it’s important that you know how to swim in this sometimes turbulent environment. Make sure you don’t swim too far from shore and obey all instruction from lifeguards and/or warning signs/flags.

Also, be sure that you’re always aware of your surroundings when swimming in the ocean. Consumption of alcohol is not permitted on Bradenton Beach, and it’s important that you never swim under the influence or alone.

2.     Use Sunscreen

Protecting yourself, your skin, and just staying healthy at the beach should always be a priority. No matter the temperature or amount of cloud cover on the beach, always wear sunscreen and other protective gear like sunglasses, hats or a light shirt. Not only does sun exposure cause long-term skin damage and skin cancer, but hours spent in the sun can also lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Apply sunscreen multiple times a day, especially after swimming or excessive sweating, and be sure to drink plenty of water.  It also helps to take shade-breaks regularly. If you feel ill or dizzy, get out of the direct sun immediately and contact a lifeguard.

3.     Watch for Warning Flags

Though lifeguards will likely inform you of the current water conditions, it’s important that you know and understand warning flags and what they mean. Though every beach is different up and down the coast, there are a few general warning colors that you should be familiar with.

  • Red Flags: Strong surf and heavy currents mean that the beach is either closed or that swimmers should use extreme caution when entering the water. Check with the local lifeguard if a red flag is flying at Bradenton Beach.
  • Yellow Flags: These flags indicate that the surf conditions are moderate to rough, but not horrifically dangerous. You should still use caution and stay near the shore.
  • Green Flags: Calm and clear waters will receive a green flag, meaning swimming conditions are safe and swimmers should feel free to enjoy the water.
  • Blue/Purple Flags: A blue or purple flag indicates potentially dangerous marine life and you should exercise more caution than usual when wading or swimming, and always go with a buddy.

4.     Respect the Rip Currents

A rip current is a strong, narrow current that quickly flows outward from the beach. These currents are responsible for the deaths of several swimmers every year, largely because they can occur at a moment’s notice and catch swimmers off guard. They can occur in any large open-water area around sandbars, jetties, and/or piers. You should know the following before swimming in an area with potential rip currents:

  • If you’re caught, stay clam and don’t fight the current
  • Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current, turn and swim back toward shore.
  • If you are unable to swim to shore, float or tread water until help arrives or you gain enough strength to return to shore.
  • Keep away from piers and jetties as these structures can have strong currents flowing around them
  • Check the conditions or talk with a lifeguard about currents before swimming

5.     Always Enter Feet-First

Avoid lifelong, irreversible injuries like paraplegia by always entering the water feet-first. Never dive headfirst into unknown, or murky waters as you risk hitting your head or striking a hidden object. When bodysurfing or boogie boarding, always keep a hand in front of your head to prevent serious neck and back injuries.

6.     Watch the Weather

In the event of a potential storm, seek shelter out of the water. Even if the storm appears to be far away or travelling in another direction, it is still possible for lightning to strike many miles away from the center of a storm in what many would consider a “safe area”. For your safety during inclement weather, find a covered location and wait at least 30 minutes after you hear the last rumbling of thunder before heading back out to the beach.

7.     Keep the Beach Clean

No one likes lounging on a beach covered in trash. Do your part in preventing ocean and beach litter by always picking up trash around you.  Keep your garbage in a closed bag or immediately throw it in a receptacle. Not only will you prevent birds and other animals from eating harmful debris, but you will also make our beach just as beautiful for the next person to enjoy.

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