Waves, winds force High Surf Advisory - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Waves, winds force High Surf Advisory

by Michele Catahay

Guam - The next time you head to the beach here's some tips to keep you and your family safe. "If you take a look at it right now, it doesn't look like it's too bad, but it's crazy - the surf is huge," said lifeguard Frank San Nicolas with the Department of Parks and Recreation. "As soon as you get out there, then you realize the predicament you're in. I truly believe that we need to be more aware of our environment and what it does, the mechanics of the sea."

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Advisory for Guam waters in effect until Thursday. Conditions like these and all around awareness of the dangers of the open ocean are something San Nicolas says needs to discussed more. "It needs to be brought out to the schools," he noted. "There needs to be attention to it. We live on an island and this is bound to happen. Accidents happen."

Tips to keep you safe when heading to beach include knowing how to swim. Oceans have currents that can quickly envelop the unassuming ocean bather, dragging them out, deep into ocean territory. It only takes a few seconds for a swimmer to get in trouble. Knowing how to swim can help buy time until help arrives. He suggested, "Swim with a buddy; observe the ocean and understand what it's doing. Check the tide, talk to a lifeguard and just observe your environment, know what's happening before you jump in."

Other tips include paying attention to swimming boundaries and markings they're placed there for a reason.  Either the water can be perilous beyond these points or you will drift out of the lifeguard's view. If caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to the shore. Swimming perpendicularly, not only can tire you out, but also unknowingly can allow tides to pull you out further. Parallel swimming enables one to get out of potentially dangerous tides, allowing the individual to be able to return to shore.

Children should not be left unsupervised at any time, especially if swimming and don't start to swim without stretching. Stretching allows the muscles to warm up avoiding cramping. Cramping, once in the water, can lead to serious complications.

And one of the most important tips we can give you - don't panic. Panic leads to a useless waste of one's energy and exhaustion. Float and call for help, if possible.

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