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Please bear in mind, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of ocean hazards. It is your responsibility to stay informed and take appropriate precautions.
- Never swim alone.
- Never rely on an inflatable object to stay afloat if you can't swim.
- Before your trip, take the time to learn basic water safety, first aid, and CPR.
- Stay out of the water during thunderstorms and bad weather.
- Stay within the reef line. Under no circumstances should you wander close to the reef, as unseen water currents can be life-threatening.
- When surf is 6 feet or higher, stay out of the water unless you are an expert swimmer. Even then, you should consider your limits and always use the utmost caution.
- Inexperienced snorkelers should always use a life jacket.
- During certain seasons, Guam's beaches have been known to harbor jellyfish, which cause painful stings to the skin. If you see clear jelly-like creatures, do not enter the water.
- Learn what to do if you or someone in your party is caught in a rip current. The United States Lifesaving Association and the National Weather Service are two good resources to start with.
- Supervise children in the water closely.
- Never swim under the influence.
- Always read and obey warning signs at beaches and swimming areas.
- Before you enter the water, check with the lifeguard on duty about hazards, water depth, rocks, and currents.
- Some areas are not staffed by lifeguards. Use extreme caution, and respect your limitations and those of the rest of your party.
- Wear gloves and protective footwear when exploring in and around the ocean.
- Even the most beautiful animals, such as the venomous lionfish, can be dangerous to humans. Remember, these gorgeous creatures have survival mechanisms like all living things, so you don't want to be on the receiving end of a sting or bite.
Even in paradise, we are not immune to the realities of the modern world. Please stay informed about ocean pollution. Weekly pollution reports are printed in the Pacific Daily News. Visit the Guam Environmental Protection Agency Web Site as you're making your swimming plans.
Storms and Typhoons
Guam's storm season lasts from July 1 - December 31. A catastrophic typhoon has not hit the island since Pongsona in 2002, but it and other memorable storms have taught folks on Guam the importance of being prepared.
During a typhoon:
- If you are in a low-lying area or if the building you are staying in is not a concrete structure or lacks storm shutters, consider seeking shelter elsewhere.
- Stay inside and away from windows.
- If possible, stay tuned to a radio or television for storm bulletins.
- Stay inside when the eye of the typhoon is passing and prepare for heavy winds from the opposite direction.
- Fill in holes around doors with old towels or blankets.
- Turn of and unplug all appliances.
- NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service warnings and other hazard information 24 hours a day. Weather radios are for sale at electronics stores on Guam and via mail-order catalogues and various other locations.