Known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida is one of the world's most popular tourist attractions. Renting a beach house is an excellent alternative to staying in a hotel or condo, as it provides you will the feeling of home and gives you more privacy.
However, Florida waters are home to sea life and aquatic plants that can make you seriously ill. Additionally, an abundance of creatures including snakes, alligators, and insects, lurk in marshes, retention ponds, under plants, and burrow in the sand.
Before you head out to discover Florida's beaches there are a few precautions which should be taken to ensure you have a safe and fun-filled vacation.
David McRee, author of “How to Be Safe from Sharks, Jellyfish, Stingrays and Rip Currents” offers a free copy of his book to visitors at his Beach Hunter website. This 72-page guide has been endorsed by the Chief of Safety for the Florida Air National Guard, saying that this book is the most complete and comprehensive information on beach safety he's ever seen. Considering it's free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by downloading this informative and educational guide.
Volusia County is located in Northeast Central Florida. It is known as the “Shark Bite Capital of the World.” However, to date there have been no fatal shark bites in the county and most occur near the Ponce de Leon Inlet. Juvenile Black Tip and Spinner sharks cause the majority of shark bites in Volusia County. These sharks prefer this area due to the abundance of bait fish. Additionally, this area provides the best waves for surfers and is oftentimes more congested than other area beaches.
According to the International Shark Attack File, more than 85 percent of shark bites in Florida occur during the months of March through October and happen between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates your chances of being bitten by a shark in Florida at one in one million.
To lessen your chances of being bitten by a shark, never enter the water if you are bleeding. Sharks are attracted to blood and you can become a target. This includes menstruation bleeding. Avoid swimming in murky waters, as sharks are unable to see that you are human and may mistake you for a fish. Last, but not least, swim with at least one other person and don't swim too far away from the shore.
It's important to realize that not all Florida beaches have lifeguards. Although many of the public beaches do have lifeguards on duty during daylight hours; beaches in front of hotels, resorts, and state parks are completely unguarded. Fort Myers does not have any lifeguards at all; nor does the entire county of Lee.
Rip currents frequently occur in Florida. This phenomenon is caused by a strong water current moving from shallow water to deeper water. If you are swept up in a rip current, it can carry you out for quite some distance. Do NOT attempt to swim against the current. Instead, do your best to remain calm and relax, while swimming parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.
If you have never been surfing, hire an instructor to teach you the proper techniques. Thousands of people are injured each year and hundreds drown because they underestimate the power of the waves. Most importantly, never surf alone.
Several Florida beaches allow watercraft to pull directly up to the shore; particularly jet skis. If you're swimming in an area where people and watercraft are in close proximity, it's crucial for you to be aware of your surroundings at all times. To avoid being hit by a boat or other watercraft, stay close to the shoreline and never venture out past the first sandbar. It's nearly impossible for a large vessel to see your head bopping up and down in the water, so avoid swimming too far away from the shore.
Stingray injuries are common during the summer months. Stingrays tend to rest in shallow waters — the same place where humans like to play. A stingray has a sharp barb on top of its tail. The barb contains a venomous poison, which it injects into anyone who gets too close. Stingrays do not intentionally set-out to cause harm to human. They only sting when a human gets too close and invades their territory.
If you are stung by a stingray, it's a good idea to seek medical attention. Stingray venom can cause a drastic decrease in blood pressure, dizziness, and possible anaphylactic shock. Stingrays are difficult to see because they have the ability to change color and blend in with the environment. When walking in water where stingrays may be resting, it's recommended to wear shoes and shuffle your feet as you walk.
Jellyfish are very common in Florida and there are several different species. All jellyfish have tentacles that hang down from its body. These tentacles have stinging cells that are filled with venom and microscopic harpoons. When the tentacles touch something, they inject their neurotoxin venom into their victim. Some jellyfish have very weak venom that when injected feels similar to a bee sting. Other jellyfish have deadly venom, which can result in death.
The most dangerous jellyfish in Florida is the Portuguese Man of War. It appears as a clear bubble floating on top of the water, and has a deep purple body and tentacles that can reach up to 200 feet in length. If you see one Man of War, chances are good there are others in the area. It's strongly advised to get out of the water as quickly as possible and warn everyone around you. A Man of War sting can be fatal to anyone, but particularly young children and the elderly.
Sea Lice is a common occurrence on the lower east coast of Florida during the months of March through August. Sea lice are not lice at all, but the larvae of the Thimble Jellyfish. The larvae get caught between bathing suits and skin, causing an uncomfortable stinging sensation and possible rash. The rash can last for several weeks and has been known to cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in children.
If you encounter Sea Lice, remove the swimming suit and shower as quickly as possible. The swimsuit should then be washed in hot water in a washing machine and dried in a dryer. Washing by hand or hanging dry is not sufficient to eliminate the larvae.
There is an abundance of alligators in Florida. If there is a body of fresh water, chances are good an alligator can be found lurking around. Avoid swimming in fresh water lakes and rivers while visiting Florida. The chances of encountering an alligator in fresh water locations are high, so stick to swimming near the shoreline of the ocean.
Mosquitoes and sand flies are the most prevalent and troublesome insects on the Florida beaches. A sand fly looks like a tiny gnat and many of Florida's mosquitoes are carriers of the West Nile Virus. If you intend to go fishing or visit any of Florida's national parks, it's strongly advised to wear an effective insect repellant.
Other creatures to look out for at the beach include crabs and spiny fish. Stone crabs live under rocks in the water and have powerful claws. Horseshoe crabs have a spike on their tail and are found in the shallow waters of the bays. Keep your eyes open for dead fish on the beach. Many of them have spines that can cause intense pain if you step on them. It's best to wear shoes when walking on the beach, particularly during the evening hours.
Although there are many dangers on the beaches of Florida, as long as you are aware of them you can decrease you chances of being hurt. If you'd like to know more about the dangers of Florida beaches, download the free ebook mentioned above or type in “Dangers of Florida Beaches” at your favorite search engine. As they say awareness is empowerment and if you plan on strolling or swimming Florida beaches, it's a really good idea to be aware!
Here is the original:
Precautions To Consider When Renting A Beach House In Florida