Whether you’re into the traditions of the widely celebrated Easter Holiday or not, one thing is certain and that is we all look forward to the long holiday weekend.

A weekend spent relaxing, visiting family and friends or time used to get some work done that has been lazing around in your mind for a very long time.

The Easter holiday weekend will see many beach-goers and onlookers alike congregating on the white sandy shores and enjoying the turquoise waters under the warmth of the Caribbean sun.

And then, there are those who will use the entire weekend to engage in as many social activities as possible. Some of these activities will see crowds flocking to the beaches in droves.

This year’s Easter weekend will more than likely be one where most of the popular beaches will be jam-packed with frolicking groups of people and many inebriated by the “spirits” that await.

After all, it is the first Easter holiday weekend in two years without restricted beach access.

The COVID-19 restrictions would have prevented any partying, drinking of alcoholic beverages and gatherings on beaches for the most part of the pandemic.

A long-awaited move that settles well with those who wish to just relive the pre-COVID times or those who just want to get back to some sense of normality.

The twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda boasts of having 365 beaches and that they are some of the most pristine beaches you’ll find anywhere in the Caribbean region.

Sadly, with all these social activities and large crowds on the beaches, the risks of drowning, injuries and medical emergencies do increase.

The safety of the very young and old and persons who may not know when enough is enough may become compromised. And so in an effort to help save lives and livelihoods, we present these safety steps to you.

Here are a few safety tips to remember while you are out and about during the Easter holiday break.

1. Always swim in an area with a lifeguard
Some of the most popular beaches on the island do have lifeguards present. Please heed their warnings and swim within the areas that are identified as being safe.

2. Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills
It is imperative to note that having a buddy while in the water can be a good practice. In the event, an emergency arises this person will be able to assist or summon the necessary help that is needed.

3. Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities
Knowing your fitness level and swimming capabilities might be the difference between life and death in preventing an emergency at the beach. This is no time to be boasting about your skills and showing off to those who may be jeering you on.

4. Be aware of weather and water conditions and heed warnings
Before heading out to the various white sands on the island, check with the Met Office to see if any weather bulletins have been issued. Also, conduct a visual inspection of the water conditions before entering.

5. Have an emergency plan
If you are travelling with young kids always tell them what to do in the event they become lost or separated from the group or any emergency that may arise. E.g. finding a lifeguard or Police Officer, having a pre-identified meeting point etc.

6. Beat the heat and stay hydrated
The heat of the sun and the constant consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration. Take a break from the alcohol and consume as much water as possible during the day’s activities.

7. Monitor your alcohol consumption and that of others
Do not allow a person who would have consumed copious amounts of alcohol or appear intoxicated to enter the water or drive.

8. Don’t be distracted
If you are placed in charge of monitoring young children keep your eyes on them at all times. They can become easily lost in a crowd or slip into the water without notice. Don’t be distracted by talking to others, electronic devices etc.

9. Remember to take along your medication
If you are taking prescribed medication, do remember to take them along and take them as prescribed. Also, you can ask a trusted person to assist in reminding you or set a scheduled alarm on your phone.

10. Seek help, every second counts
In the event of an emergency do not hesitate to call 911 for assistance. Based on the nature of the emergency seek the assistance of other beachgoers or onlookers who may have the necessary training.

Have a safe and enjoyable Easter Weekend. Let’s keep each other safe.