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Basic Guide to Water Safety

We’ve put together a list of things to think about when you’re at the beach, your resort’s pool or hot tub, on a boat, or participating in watersports. Safety first!

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May is Water Safety Month, and although it gives us a reason to bring it up, water safety is something that should always be talked about, especially on an island! We’ve previously published a Basic Guide to Beach Safety, that covers important information like what to bring to bring along on your beach day, local beach regulations, and some of the potential dangers of the ocean.

Guides like these are not meant to scare you, but to prepare you and your family (especially if you have children) for your upcoming vacation. Hilton Head’s beaches are a big draw, but water safety doesn’t stop there. We’ve put together a list of things to think about when you’re at your resort’s pool or hot tub, on a boat, or participating in watersports.

What You Wear Makes a Difference

  • While additional floaties and other fun flotation devices like water wings and floats around your waist can help you stay above water, they don’t replace a swimming buddy, adult supervision, or lifeguard. Any blow-up rafts, tubes, and more can allow you to drift off farther into the ocean than you’d like—especially if you aren’t paying attention or fall asleep! Stay awake, stay alert, and refrain from rough-housing with inflatable objects in swimming pools.
  • Wearing water shoes is always a good idea when visiting the beach. Ensure you don’t accidentally cut your foot on a seashell or any other possible sharp object hidden within the soft sand. If you’re headed to the pool, don’t forget your flip-flops or sandals! The path to the pool and cement surrounding it might not be hot when you arrive, but after a few hours in the sun, you run the risk of burning your feet!
  • The color of your swimsuit might actually be a safety concern you’ve never thought of. Choosing fun, neon colors or anything in bright yellow, orange, and green are more visible. Blues, purples, and other muted colors blend in with the water.

Helpful Tips for Families

  • Always accompany your children to the pool or beach. Resort pools have fun games and activities, and might have lifeguards on duty. However, that doesn’t mean that children can be dropped off in pool areas. Express to them that they need to wait for you to join them and not to enter a gated pool area without you!
  • Tell your kiddos that horseplay isn’t appropriate in or around the pool. It’s for their safety as well as for everyone around them.
  • Lots of resorts and hotels offer hot tubs. The CDC warns against children under five years old using a hot tub, since they’re more sensitive to the higher temperature. Check the signage around any hot tubs that you see to ensure the age restrictions aren’t set to anything different. If your children are able to enjoy the hot tub, make sure that you’re still accompanying them.
  • If there’s anyone in your group who can’t swim, skip the pool entirely if that’s going to be too much of a temptation for younger children.

If you have time to enroll in swim lessons before your trip, definitely fit it into your schedule! Your kids don’t have to swim like an Olympian athlete, but you’ll have a lot more peace of mind if they have these basics down: floating, treading water, and safely exiting the water on their own.

For more important water safety information, read more on American Red Cross’ website.

For Hilton Head Island specific beach safety information, read our guide.

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Basic Guide to Water Safety

We’ve put together a list of things to think about when you’re at the beach, your resort’s pool or hot tub, on a boat, or participating in watersports. Safety first!

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