Laurel’s guide to ocean safety & traveling smart in a low income country.
Cabarete ocean safety is the key to your fun beach holiday in our paradise. You want to get out there, enjoy the sunshine, the salt air, the waves, the warm tropical waters, the hot tropical nights, the salsa dancing, the mojito drinking and still come home to tell the tale.
This article is a guide to ocean safety for non-ocean people. And then some very basic tips for traveling in a low income country for all you intrepid explorers.
Cabarete beach is awesome and safe
In Cabarete we’re really lucky not to have many rocks, reefs, obstacles, or dangerous animals in the water to worry about. Steer clear of the shallow reef in front of Velero and at the point above Kite Beach and you’ll have a very friendly bay in which to play.
There are, however, some things to know. In Cabarete, like most all low income countries, there are no lifeguards. It’s up to us, you and me, and everyone on the beach to look out for each other. We all need to take responsibility for keeping ourselves and each other safe. First topic: Ocean safety and avoiding rip currents.
Rip currents suck
Literally they suck you right out into the ocean, away from the shore. Swimming against them (back towards the land) won’t work. People die doing that. Stay safe by knowing where the rip current is (hint: it’s where the waves aren’t breaking and, in our blue waters, look for streaks of brown perpendicular to shore).
Find yourself in a current?
First, take a breath, be calm.
Second, either swim parallel to shore (the rip tide is narrow and you’ll be able to swim out of it, then back to shore.) Or just float with the current (it won’t go out too far usually) then swim around it and then back into shore.
Be an ocean safety hero
Kiters, listen up. If you see obviously non-ocean people with possibly questionable swimming skills playing in the shore right in a riptide please tell them where they are and how to stay safe. Prevention is the best medicine. Direct them towards the very safe swimming area in the center of the village by the restaurants. They have beach chairs! And palm trees for shade! You can drink tropical smoothies delivered to your beach chair with a smile!
Ocean safety is great knowledge to have. If you’re in doubt then invest a few minutes in educating yourself with these excellent resources:
NOAA Ocean Service Education for Rip Currents
Video on how to ID a Rip Current (with awesome English countryside and British accent)
Staying safe out of the water or “Landshark“
Part of what makes Cabarete so fun is the energy: vibrant and a bit edgy. You really feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore, and it’s awesome. It also can be a total hassle if you screw up and do one of these things listed below that are tried and true ways to get in trouble.
1. Drive at night
Just don’t. People are drinking and driving. Potholes are deep. It’s an open range: cows and horses (including black ones) are wandering around. Streetlights are infrequent. People drive with no lights. Therefore, if you’re going out at night take a taxi rather than braving it in your own car. And for goodness sakes don’t go on the motorcycle taxi.
2. Carry a purse | flash your bling
Why make yourself a target? Stop snatch theft before it even begins. Carry only the cash you’ll need for your outing and leave your fancy watches, purses and jewelry at home.
And there you have it. Two very simple things that will keep you safe during your fabulous kiteboarding holiday on our tropical beach paradise!
Finally, here’s my map of Cabarete. It shows possible rip current areas and the best swimming zones near our kiteboarding school in Cabarete Bay.
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