Travelers should exercise extreme caution when swimming abroad, particularly in developing countries where emergency services may not be readily available. River and ocean currents have the potential to be swift and dangerous. There may be no lifeguards or signs warning of dangerous beaches. Also, in locations that experience heavy seasonal rains, currents can rapidly change in strength and speed. It is our experience that individuals from non-coastal areas often lack experience in assessing ocean currents for riptides and other water hazards related to coastal life.
When possible, swim at designated beaches with clear warning systems. Swim between the flags only where a lifeguard is present, and never swim alone. Travelers should not consume alcohol before or during swimming activities.
If swimming is a part of your program or travel experience:
- Do not swim alone
- Be clear about your swimming abilities
- Develop a “safety plan” with fellow swimming companions
- Stay in areas designated by your program provider, travel agent, or other responsible party administering your travel experience
- Heed all warning signs/flags
- Refrain from consuming alcohol prior to swimming activities
- Wear a life jacket
- Understand how to manage rip currents, a very common water danger