The sand, the ocean, the sun. All fantastic elements that can hide many hazards even for the most experienced beach lover. Visual signage is often spotted at the beaches with the sole purpose of reducing any risk and ensure families have a great time at the beach.
We often picture danger at the beach represented by big waves and strong currents. But the potential hazards go beyond that. You have jellyfish stings, harmful algae, lighting, unusual tides, sharks, and other harsh climate circumstances.
Few people, for example, think of currents as a dangerous thing. But in fact, they account for 80% of beach rescues. Getting swirled by a powerful flow can be lethal if no aid is provided. Hence, it is essential to pay attention to beach signs and flags; they offer valuable information for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and other ocean activities. You may find regional variations, but the majority of beach signs are universal.
Another excellent example of beach signs usage is the guidelines to keep the beach clean. You may find directional signs of the nearest trash can, and reminders to keep the sand and water free of garbage. With protected reefs and corals in specific beaches, you may also find signs stating it is prohibited for visitors to remove shells from the ocean.
Surfers, beachgoers and the general public must be aware of the following beach signage:
- No lifeguard in duty. Many beaches have lifeguard presence for the largest portion of the day. However, there might be the case where the beach has no lifeguards or particular schedules where lifeguards are not present. Even if you are an experienced swimmer, you must be cautious about diving when the waves are big, or the tides are unusually high.
- Use sunscreen and drink water. Another neglected risk is the possibility of getting dehydrated, which can have severe consequences if left untreated. These signs remind of the importance of wearing sun blockage lotions (with a high SPF) and drinking lots of fluids, even when the person is not particularly thirsty. Remember, sunscreen must be re-applied each time you go into the water.
- Check with the lifeguard before diving. Specific beaches tend to have more giant waves –and a, therefore, higher risk of drowning –than others. Most likely, when they lead to an open ocean. These signs tell people it is vital to check with the lifeguard if the water is safe for swimming on that particular day and time. This is highly relevant when the swimmers are not as experienced or when swimming with small children.
Other signs may have specific recommendations according to the beach; in protected areas, with sensitive reefs and corals, some signs can let visitors know it is prohibited from them to retrieve seashells.
Whatever the use, the purpose of beach signs is to enhance visitors’ experience without risking their safety.