Keeping safe in the sun

24 Jul 2006 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

The Onslow Beach Sand Jam is coming to Camp Lejeune Aug. 5 and it’s important Marines remember that safety is paramount on the beach.

The largest problem that the beach detachment, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, is experiencing is the consumption of alcoholic beverages followed by patrons entering the water, said Sgt. Roy Farner, chief lifeguard of the beach detachment.

It’s authorized to consume alcohol on the beach in plastic bottles and cans only, but lifeguards recommend visitors exercise extreme caution if you do enter the water, said Farner.

“We have had incidents where Marines have passed out in the water from dehydration due to drinking and the heat,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Maldonado, staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the beach detachment

Dehydration can come quickly when exposed to the sun for prolonged periods especially when small children are involved, said Maldonado.

Parents should take extra care during the Sand Jam to maintain constant awareness of their children in and out of the water, said Maldonado

“You have to watch your children, they are susceptible to drowning when there are strong waves breaking on the shore,” he added.

Watching for water dangers like Man-O-War jellyfish, which can sting and cause injury, sinkholes in the sand that can cause you to lose your footing and rip tides that can pull you out further than some swimmers are prepared for, said Farner.

Some recommendations for children are life jackets, a buddy in the water and sand shoes to protect their feet, added Farner.

Visitors to the beach should remember these common items to make their stay more enjoyable: sun block, sunglasses, beach towels, an umbrella, some aloe lotion in case someone does receive a sunburn and a cooler with a lot of water, said Farner.

Visitors should observe flag conditions when arriving on the beach, said Maldonado.

A red flag flying means no swimming but beach going is allowed, yellow means swimming is allowed but there are rough currents so swimmers should exercise caution, and children should stay in shallow areas and lastly a green flag means the currents and waves are not very rough, and swimming is recommended for all ages, he said.

“Enjoy the beach but remember to always exercise caution,” said Maldonado.