S*O*A*K – brought to you by www.surfing101.com

Lifeguards and warning signs aren’t your only lines of defense.  Personal readiness and awareness are your other key companions.  A good way to improve your readiness is by understanding the acronym “SOAK”.

Study the area
Stand on the beach or high point and look all around you.  Know where you are entering the ocean, and have two or three exit points planned.  As conditions and tides change, where you entered may no longer be safe to exit.

Observe ocean conditions for at least 30 minutes

This is a good time to stretch and relax. Watch the waves for a while to see how big the sets are.  Try to understand the currents and channels.

Ask questions
Ask the lifeguards and other local swimmers & surfers about conditions.

Know your limits
Don’t put yourself and others in danger by going out in conditions past your abilities.  Strong athletic skills don’t always carry over to ocean sports.  If you can’t swim, don’t rely on a raft or other floating device to keep you afloat, and don’t float past your own abilities to get back

to shore.  If you can’t swim, stay at the hotel pool…in the shallow end.