Ocean Safety Tips

Child Safety

Watch the NOAA Lightning Movie

Lightning is a rapid discharge of electrical energy in the atmosphere. Each spark can span over five miles in length, reach temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun and contain 100 million volts of electricity.

Lightning strikes are not only dangerous; they can be deadly.

The electrostatic discharge occurs within a cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground.

Lightning doesn’t strike the ocean as much as land, but when it does,it spreads out over the water, which acts as a conductor. It can hit boats that are nearby, and electrocute fish that are near the surface.

If you’re at the beach and hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water.  Get off the beach and take shelter in a building or in your car.  If you’re at sea, head back to a shelter on land.  If you can’t, either stay low in the boat or retreat to a cabin. Do not use electronic equipment during the storm.

lightning-ocean-tico-mae-retreatsEvery year, millions of lightning flashes fill our skies.  Each one has the potential to cause a devastating and shocking impact.


Don’t Touch the Coral

Coral is beautiful, and looks like rock, but it is actually a fragile living animal. If you touch coral with your fins or hands, you kill it. You might think this is because you crush it or break it. That is bad, and should be avoided also. But even just lightly touching it acts more like a poison to it. Sometimes the results of touching it will not appear for weeks to months.

Coral is so wonderful to see and so important to our world that you should feel like you just ran over your kitten if you touch coral. Not to mention that coral is sharp and will often cut your skin, leading to infections, and can cut your fins also.

Fire corals have a bright yellow-green and brown skeletal covering and are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. They appear in small brush-like growths on rocks and coral. Divers often mistake fire coral for seaweed, and accidental contact is common. Upon contact, an intense pain can be felt that can last from two days to two weeks. The very small nematocysts on fire corals contain tentacles that protrude from numerous surface pores (similar to jellyfish stings). In addition, fire corals have a sharp, calcified external skeleton that can scrape the skin.

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Stay Safe in the Surf

If You Get Stuck in a Rip Current

  • Don’t fight the current
  • Swim out of the current, then to shore
  • If you can’t escape float, or tread water
  • If you need help, call or wave for assistance

Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.

Always Be Safe

  • Know how to swim
  • Never swim alone
  • If in doubt, don’t go out

Find more info on rip currents at NOAA.