The thermometer is rising and the sun is shining. Whether you’re planning a road trip, weekend getaway, or just a day at one of Rhode Island’s many beaches, WPRI.com has everything you need to know for a safe and exciting summer.
Rhode Island has over 400 miles of coastline and its beaches may see 10,000 visitors in a single day. The Rhode Island Department of Health closely monitors the beaches and tests water quality to determine high bacteria counts.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents can be deadly if a swimmer doesn’t know what to do when caught in one.
Know the Signs of a Rip Current:
- A channel of churning, choppy water.
- A difference in water color.
- A line of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward.
- A break in the incoming wave pattern
More Information: Beach and Rip Current Safety
Swimming Pools & Spas
When the temperature rises, one of the best ways to cool off is taking a dip in a swimming pool. But before you jump in, The American Red Cross says it important to know these important swimming safety tips first:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but DO NOT rely on life jackets alone.
- Maintain constant supervision.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well.
- Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers.
- Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
- Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
Rhode Island is the Ocean State and time out on the boat is the perfect way to spend a summer day. But, make sure you’re doing so safely. The U.S. Coast Guard urges you to know the following basic boat safety tips.
- Be Weather Wise
- Always check weather forecasts before heading out.
- If you notice darkening skies or rough changing winds, play it safe and head back to shore
- DOWNLOAD: Pinpoint Weather App
- Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist
- Don’t forget important steps! Having a checklist makes sure you follow safety precautions every time you head out on the water.
- PRINT: Pre-Departure Checklist
- Use Common Sense
- Observe boating rules and speed limits
- Stay alert
- Steer clear of larger vessels
- Designate an Assistant Skipper
- This ensures if something happens to the primary navigator, this person should know how to get everyone back to shore safely
- Develop a Float Plan
- Much like a flight plan, a float plan lets people know where you’ll be going and how long you’ll be gone.
- It can include information like:
- Contact information of trip leader
- Names and phone numbers of all passengers
- Boat type and registration information
- Trip Itinerary
- Type of communication equipment on board
- Share your plan with your local marina or family members
- Use Proper Lifejackets
- Each person on board your boat should be wearing one
- Avoid Alcohol
- Just like driving a car, drinking and boating don’t mix
- Learn to Swim
- Take a Boating Course
- Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check
- The US Coast Guard will come to your vessel to make sure it has certain safety equipment
On the Water: Coast Guard urges boating preparedness
UV Index & Sun Safety
Spending time in the sun can be fun and enjoyable. But too much sun can be dangerous and – in the case of skin cancer – potentially deadly. According to the EPA, the UV Index provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. The UV Index is accompanied by recommendations for sun protection and is a useful tool for planning sun-safe outdoor activities.
Air Quality Alert
According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, ozone is a colorless gas that can be found throughout the earth’s atmosphere. In the upper atmosphere, ozone exists naturally where it shields the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. At ground-level, however, ozone is formed as a result of chemical reactions caused by the presence of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
More Information: Ozone, air quality alerts, and how they can affect your health »
Lightning and Thunderstorm Dangers
One of the deadliest weather phenomena in the United States is lightning. According to the National Weather Service, an average of 51 people are killed each year by lightning and hundreds more are severely injured. But there are ways to stay out of harms way. Our Thunderstorm and Lightning page has vital safety information from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
Severe Weather: Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety
Periods of prolonged heat are not only dangerous, they can be deadly – especially for the young, old and people with compromised immune systems. Our Extreme Heat Resource Guide has some vital information from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to help you keep your cool when the temperature rises.
Severe Weather: Extreme Heat Safety
The Great Outdoors
Mosquito bites are not just annoying. The insects can carry and spread diseases. The best way to keep from getting sick is to take steps to prevent mosquito bites in the first place. Here is some important information from the Centers for Disease Control about some of the more common mosquito-borne diseases and prevention.
Fact Sheet: Mosquito-Borne Illnesses »
Ticks and Lyme Disease
A reality of spending quality time outdoors are ticks and the dangers of Lyme disease. Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, as well as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tickborne infections. There are several steps you and your family can take to prevent and control Lyme disease.
Fact Sheet: Ticks & Lyme Disease »
Call 12 For Action has found that more injuries are being reported related to fire pits. If you’re not paying attention, things can get out of control quickly.
In the Yard: Firepit Safety Tips
Whether you’re going to a Memorial day BBQ or just hanging out with friends cooling off in the AC, there’s no reason to break the bank buying expensive wine.
More here: Best Summer Wines Under $20
Rhode Show: Each month, Rhode Island Monthly magazine shares fun and excitement going on in our area. Their June issue is all about summer in the Ocean State! From frozen treats, to cold, local brews, water sports, and basic beach information, this issue has it all!