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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Common sense and knowledge will keep you safe this summer.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

Fun in the sun with safety in mind

9 Aug 2007 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman,

The summer season is here again, and Onslow Beach is the place to beat the heat, but safety in the sun should always be paramount.

If beach goers follow the rules of the beach everyone can have a good time this summer, said Lance Cpl. John Parina, a lifeguard at the Onslow Beach Detachment.

The rules governing the consumption of alcohol commonly cause confusion on the beach, said Parina.

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 Sgt. Kevin Compton, head life guard at Onslow Beach Detachment.

“If you drink [alcohol] you’ll get dehydrated and adding physically exerting activities like swimming to the equation can be hazardous,” said Parina.

Dehydration can come quickly when a person is exposed to the sun for long periods, said Parina.

This is especially important when that person is a small child, said Parina

Parents should take extra care on the beach to maintain constant awareness of their children in and out of the water, said Parina.

“You have to watch your children. They are susceptible to drowning when there are strong waves breaking on the shore,” he added. “We do the best we can, but there are only so many life guards, parents need to keep watch as well.”

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

Also, some tips all swimmers should be aware of are: stings from Man-O-War jellyfish, sinkholes in the sand that can cause swimmers to lose their footing and rip currents that can pull swimmers out further than they are prepared for, said Parina.

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

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

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 a green flag means the currents and waves are not very rough, and swimming is recommended for all ages, he said.

“Enjoy the beach its only open part of the year, but remember to be safe,” concluded Compton.