Accidents involving water are one of the most common causes of death amoung young Americans abroad. Even the strongest swimmers can be placed in jeopardy by rip tides, overexertion, prolonged sun exposure, and water hazards not visible at the surface.

Follow these basic tips for keeping safe:

  • Do not swim in unfamiliar bodies of water or at isolated beaches.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Never swim while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never dive head-first.
  • Check local information for details of tides, currents, and pollution. Tide changes can produce powerful currents.
  • Rip currents and undertows can be very common at many beaches.
  • Do not swim where there are no lifeguards present.
  • Check for possible hazards from jellyfish, sea urchins, coral, sea snakes, sharks, and venomous fish. Saltwater crocodiles live in coastal estuaries in many countries.
  • Human sewage and animal feces make some beaches no-go areas for swimming or even wading.
  • If you find yourself unable to reach shore, wave your arms and yell for assistance.