The ocean is a world of beauty and wonder. But, when is it safe to go in the water? Many people ignore the fact that the ocean is a foreign habitat. The movie film Jaws portrays that fact vividly, and has put fear into many swimmers worldwide. However, a shark is just one marine predator. The ocean is home to many predators such as
sting rays, jellyfish, portuguese men-of-war, sea wasp (box jellyfish), Irukandji, barracuda, moray eel and more. Shallow waters can be just as dangerous if you are not aware of what is going on with ocean wildlife in the local beach area.

Before going in the ocean water, follow these four rules:

1. First rule is know and respect your environment. It's a whole new world and if you plan on spending a lot time in it, educate yourself about the surroundings, especially if there are dangerous waters.

2. Second rule is ask the life guard what is going on in the area. You can also ask local dive or surf shops. If your on vacation, it's especially important to ask these questions.
I don't recommend asking the front desk of the hotel for obvious reasons.

3. Third rule is beware of changing conditions. Weather can change tides and surf conditions and before you know it, you have some sea creatures coming into the surf. Most beaches use a standard flag advisory system: yellow is caution, blue is dangerous sea life and red is considered very dangerous water conditions. The flags are usually posted in the ground near the lifeguard.

4. Fourth rule is when on vacation apply all rules above to snorkel excursions, scuba diving, beach swimming and other ocean water activity. In most cases, you can rely on your trip guide for accurate information. However, information from inexperience guides could be costly depending on the kind of waters you are going in. If you are not sure, skip the trip or use a skin suit.

Those are the four rules. If you ignore them, you increase risk factors. If you don't, you have done all you can do. Remember, there is never a guarantee. You always swim at your own risk.

Such is life, a risk.

Enjoy the water.
  Portuguese man-of-war (not true color)
   Portuguese man-of-war
        (not true color) 



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