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Every Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the Museum of Coastal Carolina, families can learn beach safety tips that could save their lives.
“Who Are You Swimming With?” addresses serious beach safety issues in a kid-friendly way. The goal of the program is to educate, not to scare.
At a recent program, almost 70 people (adults and kids) listened as program leader Judy Sobota talked about what to do in various situations that any North Carolina beachgoer might face.
The first part of the program deals with the marine life likely to be seen on the beach or in the water, and what to do if someone has an unfortunate and painful encounter with it. Sobota will talk about cannonball jellyfish, Portuguese Man of Wars, crabs, lionfish, sharks, dolphins and more.
The second part of the program is all about beach safety tips in the event of thunder and lightning, rip currents, big waves, swimming after dark (in a word: don’t), and what to do if someone needs help in the water.
Knowledge of rip currents is especially critical as they are not uncommon off the Carolina coast. In fact, rip currents can occur in any body of water with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. Rip currents account for more than 80 percent of all surf-related rescues.
Lightning is also a serious concern in North Carolina, which last year ranked third out of all 50 states in the number of deaths attributed to lightning strikes. Only Florida and Michigan ranked higher.
After the presentation, kids are invited up to the craft table to make unique beach-in-a-bottle souvenirs to take home. The bottles include such items as sand, sea stars, “mermaid magic” glitter, shells and sea glass.
Visit the Museum of Coastal Carolina at 21 East Second St. on Ocean Isle Beach. Admission is free for museum members. Non-member all-day admission, which includes admission to Wednesday’s “Who Are You Swimming With?” program at 3:30 p.m. and the “Pirates Ahoy!” program at 7 p.m., is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 ages 3-4, and free for ages 2 and younger. For more information, call 579-1016 or visit www.MuseumPlanetarium.org.