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Water Safety in the Coastal Bend

by Visit Corpus Christi Texas

PINS beach with dunes.jpg

“Fun in the sun” and “staying safe” are best buds, especially when it comes to spending a day (or seven!) on a gorgeous Corpus Christi beach. While the Gulf Beaches have lifeguards on mobile patrol every day of the week, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful when venturing out into the blue.

Whether you’re walking the Padre Island National Seashore, gearing up for a day of Coastal Bend Kayaking, building competing sandcastles with the kids or heading out on your all-inclusive Corpus Christi Playcation, keeping everyone safe is all part of making sure everyone has a great time. Here are a few tips to get your group up to speed on Coastal Bend water safety!

1. Check the flags.

Look for the flags signaling surf conditions, or find a lifeguard (if at a lifeguard-patrolled beach) to ask if it’s safe to go in the water. Luckily, the Corpus Christi surf condition flag color meanings are pretty easy to remember. Make sure kids and adults alike know what signs to look out for:

  • Red = not safe
  • Yellow = use caution
  • Green = safe
  • Blue = marine pests present
  • Orange = poor air or water quality

Even when a lifeguard is present, it benefits everybody to be aware of their surroundings and use caution while enjoying the water. Conditions can change quickly!

2. Brush up and practice basic water skills.

It’s never a waste of time to be prepared. The “Simple Steps Save Lives” program has a few standard tips for adults preparing for a beach or pool day.

  • Learn how to swim and teach children how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults; update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so you can assist in a water emergency

3. Learn what to do if you get caught in a Rip Current.

NOAA defines rip currents as “powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water” that can reach speeds of up to 8 feet per second. That’s faster than an Olympic swimmer! Lifeguards rescue “tens of thousands of people” from rip currents in the U.S. each year.

If you get caught in a rip current, don't fight it. Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle.

Make sure kids and adults both understand how rip currents work. Knowing how to deal with a rip current could not only save a person’s life—it keeps helpers out of danger, too.

4. The buddy system rules.

When it comes to water safety, the buddy system isn’t just for kids! Neither adults nor children should venture into the water alone. Always take a buddy, and make sure another friend or family member knows where you are and how to reach you in an emergency.

If someone goes missing, especially a child, check the water or pool first. Sticking to the beach but parting ways for a while? Check in with each other regularly.

5. Gear is groovy!

This is the Coastal Bend, after all, and we love water sports! Whether you’re sailing, fishing, boarding, or even getting your Namaste on at the water, always use common sense and, if it’s a part of the deal, strap into your recommended safety gear. Kids who are too young to swim, or are unable to swim, should always be accompanied by an adult and wear a life jacket.

Bottom line? Be informed, know your water safety basics, and when in doubt, don’t go in the water. There are oodles of activities to be enjoyed in the meantime on Corpus Christi’s beautiful beaches, what our Parks & Recreation Department call “the heart and soul of the Texas Gulf Region.” (We agree!) Get started building your dream Corpus Christi Vacation, both in the water and around it, at visitcorpuschristitx.org.

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