Swimmers enjoying a caribbean beach

Essential Things To Know Before Swimming In The Caribbean Sea

By Nicole Cord-Cruz


Rip Currents
Caribbean beaches are known for strong rip currents, particularly during hurricane season. They can yank you away from land fast, and some surpass speeds of 5 mph.
Rip currents do not pull swimmers underwater, but can sometimes be enough to take you past surf zones. Don’t fight the current — float with it and swim back once it’s not active.
Interacting with stingrays is a popular tourist activity in the Caribbean, but stingrays can pose risks. If you encounter them when exploring on your own, steer clear.
The odds of getting attacked by a shark are very low, but you should still be cautious. Some Caribbean waters are home to potentially aggressive sharks like tiger sharks.
There's a threat of contracting Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria, when swimming in the Caribbean as vacationer Jennifer Barlow did after touching seaweed in the Bahamas.
While not every seaweed you encounter poses a lethal threat, the CDC suggests being careful about exposing open wounds to seawater and consuming raw seafood.
Many Caribbean beaches don't have lifeguards. The Red Cross says not to swim at unpatrolled beaches, as lifeguards can rescue swimmers and know what weather is dangerous.