The municipal civil protection authorities in Cancun have taken the decision to nearly double the number of lifeguards who will be on duty at the destination’s beaches.
Spring brings a big bump to the area’s popularity, with many young people taking advantage of the spring break package deals that make the area one of the most popular choices for those wanting the perfect party experience.
Are The Beaches Swimmable?
The beaches of Cancun are some of the most swimmable in Mexico, with the water often being calm and safe. There are a few that present more challenging conditions, but these are always clearly marked by the beach flag system in place. This system is as follows:
- Green flag: The conditions are safe for swimming.
- Yellow flag: Swim with caution, conditions can be difficult.
- Red flag: Dangerous conditions, swimming is not advised.
- Black flag: Swimming is prohibited. Extreme conditions.
The Increase Explained
The beaches of Cancun are already well-serviced by lifeguards, but this time of year brings an increase in young people on vacation who are often under the influence of alcohol.
The lifeguards of Cancun take a proactive approach to their duties. While it’s important that they react to dangers as they present themselves, the goal of these life-savers is to prevent the need for a water rescue in the first place.
With this approach in mind, the increase in lifeguards is aimed at having more roaming patrols, advising beachgoers of any dangers, and attempting to prevent the highly inebriated from entering the water where they may get into trouble.
Unfortunately, the lifeguards of Cancun have a busy job. But compared to other resort areas such as Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, they have been able to keep incidents of drowning down to a minimum.
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What Are The Dangers
Cancun thankfully doesn’t have to deal with aggressive sea life. Mexico as a country has only registered 40 known shark attacks in a 450-year period. In other words, since the Spanish first landed in the Americas, there has been an attack once every 11 years.
There have been fatal attacks, but they are extremely rare, with the last one occurring as far back as 2008. To put that in perspective, the state of Florida alone has seen 828 attacks over the same period, meaning Mexico as a whole has seen 20 times fewer attacks.
The real danger on Cancun’s beaches is the unpredictability of the water, something that swimmers have to contend with on every beach in the world. It only takes one freak wave or abnormal tidal change to create dangerous conditions. As well as this, the rise in sargassum each year can also create difficult swimming conditions. This seaweed can become entangled in a swimmer’s limbs and quickly become an energy drain. So, in sargassum-high conditions, swimming is not advised.
Thankfully pollution is not an issue in the Mexican Caribbean. The sea here is crystal-clear and free from sewage and other pollutants, which have caused issues at other sites around the world.
How To Enjoy The Sea Safely
Swimming in the Mexican Caribbean is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the beautiful turquoise-blue waters. However, it is important to take precautions and ensure that the dangers of the sea are kept to a minimum. Here are some tips for both adults and children to stay safe while swimming in the Mexican Caribbean:
- Be aware of the weather forecast. The Caribbean Sea, like all seas, can be unpredictable. Sudden storms can create dangerous conditions for swimmers.
- Swim near a lifeguard. It’s important to swim in areas where lifeguards are stationed to assist you in case of an emergency.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for potential hazards such as rocks, strong currents, or marine life like jellyfish.
- Don’t swim alone. Always have a swimming buddy who can raise the alarm if you get into trouble in the water.
- Don’t swim at night. Lifeguards work a 9-5 shift, and as well as the lack of rescue personnel, it can be more difficult to spot dangers in the dark.
- Ensure adult supervision at all times. Children should never be left alone while swimming, and adults should be within reach of young children at all times.
- Use a life jacket or flotation device. Even if a child knows how to swim, a life jacket or flotation device can provide additional safety while swimming.
- Set clear rules for the water. Set rules with a child about where they can swim, such as staying within a designated area.
- Look for signs of tiredness or distress. Children can quickly become tired or overwhelmed in the water, so watch for signs of fatigue or distress, such as coughing or struggling to stay afloat.
Swimming in the Mexican Caribbean can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but safety should always be a top priority. While the presence of lifeguards increases safety, everyone has a responsibility to keep the need for rescue to a minimum.
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