When you are going on vacation, the only thing you should worry about is whether or not you brought enough sunscreen. But the truth of the matter is that we still need to play it safe to have the most enjoyable retreat possible. Keep these tips in mind when you are vacationing at the beach.

Stay Near a Lifeguard (or at least where they can see you)

It goes without saying that you should only be on the beach when lifeguards are there. They are there for your protection, since you just never know when something catastrophic could happen. It’s estimated that your chance of drowning when in view of a lifeguard is 1 in 18,000,000. Those are pretty good odds. And don’t worry about finding them – lifeguards are stationed over 13.5 miles of beach on Hilton Head Island during daytime hours.

Beware of Rip Currents

A rip current is a narrow but powerful flow of the tide underwater that pulls out toward the sea. Avoid them if possible by looking for tell-tale signs, such as a break in the wave pattern, a difference in water color, or a line of debris or foam heading out. However, if you do get stuck in a rip current and find yourself floating away from the coast, don’t panic. Swim parallel to the shoreline until someone can help you.

Stay Away from Sandbars

Although sandbars seem innocent enough, you never know just how deep the drop off is at the end. All it takes is one strong wave or a slight undertow to pull you under. It’s best to stay on safer sand.

Above all, make sure you use common sense. Stop and think if you’re going to be drinking alcohol at all, as that could impede your judgement as well. And make sure you know who to call in an emergency. Enjoy the beach safely and arrive home healthy, uninjured, and maybe just a little sun-kissed from your Hilton Head vacation.