Public Education

Prevent Accidents at the Beach

Practice these safety tips put out by the United States Lifeguard Association.

1. Learn To Swim: Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. If you're not a strong swimmer, or if you don't know how, stay away from the water! Teach children to swim at an early age. Children who don't learn to swim when they are young tend to avoid swim instruction as they age, possibly due to embarrassment.

2. Swim Near a Lifeguard: USLA statistics over a ten year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.

3. Swim with a Buddy: When you swim with a buddy, if one of you has a problem, the other may be able to help, including signaling for assistance from others.

4. Check with the Lifeguards: Lifeguards work continually to identify hazards that might affect you. They can advise you on the safest place to swim, as well as places to avoid.

5. Use Sunscreen and Drink Water: Sun exposure affects your body. Without sunscreen, you can be seriously burned. The sun can also dehydrate you quickly.

6. Obey Posted Signs and Flags: Read the signs when you first arrive and follow their direction. Flags may be flown by lifeguards to advise of hazards and regulations that change from time to time.

7. Keep the Beach and Water Clean: Nobody likes to see the beach or water littered with trash. Do your part. Pick up after yourself and even others. Everyone will appreciate you for it.

8. Learn Rip Current Safety: Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring you to safety. Don't fight a rip current! Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim back to the beach.

Although the ocean can provide an area for fun and recreational activities, it can be hazardous without background knowledge of the environment and conditions that are present. We have provided some information and resources that may be helpful in remaining safe while enjoying your time at the beach.

Imperial Beach General Beach and Ocean Safety Advice

Talk to the lifeguards. Ask them about beach rules, safe swim areas and daily surf conditions.

  • Obey all posted warning signs and flags.
  • Always swim near a staffed lifeguard tower.
  • Don't overestimate your swimming ability. Play it safe.
  • Call and wave for help if you need it. Never fake or pretend to be in distress.
  • Keep a safe distance away from rock jetties and the pier.
  • Avoid stingrays by shuffling your feet along the bottom.
  • Educate yourself on rip currents. If you find yourself being pulled away from the beach, don't panic and swim parallel to the shore.
  • There is no smoking, alcohol, or glass allowed on the beach.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen and wear a hat.

Information on Rip Currents, Longshore Currents, Inshore Holes