We cannot stress enough the importance of having strong swimming skills when entering the ocean. The ocean is a dynamic environment, meaning that it changes constantly. Waves and currents can change drastically in a matter of seconds and can turn a relatively harmless swim in the ocean into a life-threatening situation if you are not prepared. Strong swimming skills will allow you to remain calm if you are swept away from shore, and allow you to either exit hazardous situations, or wait for help from the lifeguards without panic.
Having good swimming skills also really assists one while surfing. The upper body strength you develop as a strong swimmer can make learning how to surf easier and less frustrating.
Wearing fins in the ocean is another great way to help you maneuver and negotiate the waves and currents so you can safely return to shore. It is always a good idea to check with the lifeguards if you are unsure about your equipment, or unfamiliar with the local conditions. Many times, conditions can be severe enough, that no amount of equipment or skill can prevent you from being pulled into hazardous situations.
It is very important to supervise small children and know their swimming ability. Children are especially susceptible to being swept off their feet and taken into deep water. It can happen quickly and without warning so make sure you set strict boundaries for your children and monitor their activity.
If you are unable to swim over-head stroke for more that 15 minutes, it is not recommended that you go beyond waist deep water. Always know your own abilities as well as your family and friend’s around you. Be preventative as opposed to reactive.