Alabama has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and tourists from throughout the Southeast flock to Alabama’s Gulf Coast every summer to enjoy the fun and relaxation area beaches have to offer. This year, the beaches are expected to be busier than ever due in large part to a $1 million ad campaign that is designed to help the state recover from Covid-related tourism losses.
The Alabama beaches are a great choice for summer vacation, but there are some risks to be aware of. The weather can be unpredictable, and there are hidden dangers that can cause injuries if you are not on the lookout for them.
Here are seven personal injury risks to watch out for at the beach this summer:
Also known as riptides or undertow, rip currents are listed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as one of the greatest dangers that beach dwellers face. A rip current is a strong and narrow current that flows outward and can pull swimmers and surfers from the shallow beach area into very deep waters.
Rip currents can sneak up on you, and it is easy to get caught in one without even realizing it. If this happens to you, try to swim out of or away from the current and toward the shore. Wave or call for the lifeguard if you need help.
Beach pollution is unacceptable, but it is far more common than many tourists realize. In fact, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), every US state that has a coastline has some pollution on its beaches. Swimming in water that is contaminated by sewage, stormwater pollutions, and other toxic substances can make tourists sick. Beaches are monitored by health officials, so in theory, they should only be open if the water is clean. But just be on the safe side, monitor pollution reports to see if there are any problems reported at the beach where you will be vacationing.
During certain times of the summer, beachgoers may encounter very high winds off of the Gulf Coast. These winds can be very disruptive if you plan on going sailing, surfing, jet skiing, or boating. Stay on top of the weather report for the days that you plan to be at the beach. If there are high winds, heavy rain, lightning, tropical storms, or hurricanes in the forecast, you will probably need to reschedule your outing. If you encounter adverse weather conditions while you are on the beach, leave immediately and get to safety.
For many people, a day at the beach means relaxing in the sun and soaking up the rays. This is great to a point, but if you do not have enough protection and/or you stay in the sun too long, you risk getting burned. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin. Sunburn can cause very painful blisters in the short term, and too much sun exposure over an extended period of time can result in skin cancer. Be sure to have plenty of sunscreen when you are out on the beach and limit your sun exposure to minimize the chances of sunburn.
One of the biggest risks for beachgoers and swimmers in general in the summertime is a diving injury. When diving in the ocean, swimmers can easily underestimate the depth of the water. In the worst cases, this can cause severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that can result in paralysis. Always be careful where you dive, and never dive downwards into shallow water.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Bruises, scrapes, cuts, and sprains can happen at the beach for a number of reasons. Beachgoers often step on various objects when they are walking barefoot, and it is difficult to see them because the sun is often in their eyes. They could also run into or get knocked into a pier or similar structure when they get caught up by a strong wave. Always be aware of your surroundings and look out for objects and structures that could cause you or your children to get injured.
Whenever we talk about swimming at the beach or a pool, we must discuss the risk of drowning. Thousands of drownings or near drownings occur in beaches every year, and this is especially common with young children. Keep a close eye on your children, even if they have already had swimming lessons; because as we talked about earlier, it is not hard even for a seasoned swimmer to get caught up in a riptide. Also be sure to only swim or surf at beaches where there is a lifeguard on duty.
Injured at an Alabama Beach? Contact Hedge Copeland for Assistance
We at Hedge Copeland hope you have a safe and enjoyable time at the beach this summer. But if you or someone in your family does get hurt, and the injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, we are here to help. For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at (251) 432-8844.