On a beautiful, sunny day, it’s hard to resist going to the beach and enjoying some sun and surf. Swimming, surfing, boating, and other water activities are a great way to spend the day at the beach, but they can also be dangerous if you don’t take beach safety seriously.

Drowning ranks fifth in unintentional deaths in the United States, accounting for an average of 10 deaths a day. Despite these scary numbers, Bellflower residents can still enjoy a trip to the beach with proper precautions. Follow these beach safety tips to make sure your day is fun and worry-free.

Swim Safely in the Ocean

Before you head to the beach, make sure you know the water conditions. Be on the lookout for dangerous waves or rip currents, and learn what to do if you encounter these conditions on the water. Swim with a buddy every time you go out, and don’t go further than your swimming abilities can handle. Stay sober when you are swimming or supervising other swimmers.

Swim Near a Lifeguard

It’s tempting to jump in when you come across some beautiful shoreline, but it is safest to stick to areas where there is a lifeguard. Lifeguards can save your life if you end up in a dangerous situation and give you information about the water conditions to avoid trouble. Many local beaches—including Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Long Beach—have lifeguards on duty during daylight hours.

Wear Your Life Jacket

Even skilled swimmers can get into trouble on the water, so don’t leave your life jacket behind when you go out on a boat, watercraft, or other vessel. It’s easy to feel comfortable on the water and believe you don’t need a life jacket, but you don’t want to find out the hard way that you should have had one.

Protect Your Skin

A sunburn might seem like a minor issue when it comes to water safety, but a bad burn can ruin your day and put you at risk for skin cancer. Cover up with clothing and wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply often, even if you haven’t gone in the water.

Don’t let your guard down while you are enjoying California’s beautiful shorelines. Beach safety should be a priority for newcomers and even experienced beach-lovers. When you keep these tips in mind, your outing can truly be a day at the beach.