Venice is full of notable landmarks: the Venice Sign, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the Boardwalk, the Skate Park, the Canals…all beloved by locals and destinations for tourists who flood to Venice every year.  It can be easy to forget that perhaps the most famous attraction in Los Angeles is also the oldest: the Pacific Ocean. 

While the ocean offers the best views and the most fun, it’s always important to dive in with eyes wide open, to have a safe and enjoyable time at Venice Beach. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll set yourself up to ride the wave of safety all summer long!

Never Swim Alone:
It might be tempting to give it a go solo, but always bring a buddy when you’re surfing or swimming. Even the most experienced ocean lovers can get carried out to sea when the waves take them by surprise; one thing you can alwasy count on the ocean to be in unpredictable! Having a partner nearby means that rescue services can be notified immediately should something go wrong.

Go in with a partner.

Always Swim Near An Open Lifeguard Station:
Los Angeles County has all lifeguard towers open with full time lifeguards beginning June 15th. It’s always the best course of action to swim near an emergency professional who knows when to intervene.

Always Ask The Lifeguards For Help:
It’s a common misconception that lifeguards are only there for when things go wrong. But lifeguards are experts about swimming and extremely knowledgeable about the local water conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice and information about your favorite beach.

Feet First!
The ocean floor is much more uneven and precarious than you might think. Diving head first can lead to life-long injuries. Always enter the ocean gradually and with caution. 

Always be aware of nearby lifeguard stations.

Swim Fins + Leash = Bodyboarding Safety
Many new bodyboarders think that their board alone is a suitable safety device. In fact, you’ll want to add a leash to keep your bodyboard tethered to you, and swim fins so you can power through the current if it pulls you far from the shore. 

Stay Away From Piers and Rocks:
While piers are incredibly fun as a pedestrian, they can be incredibly dangerous for swimmers. Mixing powerful waves with concrete or wooden pillars can lead to serious injury. The same goes for large rocks. Keep your distance when you’re in the sea.

Underwater piers can be deadly.

Take 3 for the Sea!
Keeping the beach clean starts on the individual level. Leave no trace and take everything with you when you leave the beach.  If you notice extra debris left over from previous beach dwellers, that might have accidentally blown away, or drifted from a nearby receptacle, commit to taking three pieces of trash with you when you leave, so the beach is nicer than when you started. It might seem like a minor task, but it really makes a difference!

Protect Yourself From The Sun:
The ocean isn’t the only thing to keep in mind while you’re at the beach. It’s just as vital to protect yourself from the sun’s potentially harmful rays.  Painful sunburns are not the souvenir you want to take home from Venice Beach! Always use sunscreen (don’t forget lip balm with SPF!), and take a hat with you while you’re on the sand.  If you plan to go in the water for long periods of time you might look into waterproof hats – the reflection of the sun off the water can get intense! Pro Tip: Don’t forget to reapply after you get out of the water – even waterproof sunscreen eventually becomes less effective after long periods of immersion!

Look Both Ways!
Even before you make it onto the beach proper, there’s still bicycle traffic to consider. Before you cross the bike path, always look in both directions. You don’t want a day at the beach to stop before it starts.

Find a Lifeguard:
The nearest lifeguard should be your first stop in the unlikely event something goes wrong. The lifeguards at Venice Beach have the resources and training to address the situation and keep everyone safe. The bravest and most responsible course of action is to ask for help.

These tips are just a start to set you up for success during your ocean adventure. Check out these cool videos for more about rip current safety and avoiding stingrays:

Rip Current Safety
Sting Ray Shuffle

Have fun, stay safe, and we’ll see you in the water!