SPA & OCEAN SAFETY
Learn to swim and learn how to swim in the surf. It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake. To stay safe, both adults and children should know how to swim.
- Never swim alone.
- Be cautious at all times and check local weather conditions. If in doubt, don't go out. In the Caribbean, tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes can greatly increase the hazards of swimming, even if they never directly touch the island you are visiting.
- Swim sober. Water and alcohol don't mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination. You need all three to be safe in, on and around the water.
- Leash your surfboard or bodyboard to your ankle or wrist. With a leash, the user will not become separated from the floatation device. You can consider a breakaway leash. A few drownings have been attributed to leashes becoming entangled in underwater obstructions. A breakaway leash avoids this problem.
- Don't float where you can't swim. Non-swimmers should not use floatation devices to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a floatation device unless they are able to swim. Use of a leash is not enough because a non-swimmer may panic and be unable to swim back to the floatation device, even with a leash. The only exception is a person wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
- Don't dive headfirst, protect your neck. Serious, lifelong injuries, including paraplegia, as well as death, occur every year due to diving headfirst into unknown water and striking the bottom. Bodysurfing can result in a serious neck injury when the swimmer's neck strikes the bottom. Check for depth and obstructions before diving. Go in feet first the first time. Use caution while bodysurfing, extending a hand ahead of you.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
- Pay especially close attention to children and elderly persons when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
- Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone. In the Caribbean, coral can cause serious cuts, and species like the lionfish and jellyfish can inflict painful stings.
- Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly. Never fight against the current. Rather, swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle -- away from the current -- towards shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of a rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
In case of Emergency DIAL 911 From Cell Phone DIAL (340) 776-9110
There is much to see and do in Virgin Islands National Park and we want you to have the best experience possible so here are few tips on how to do that.
In The Water:
Marine life are fragile and some may sting or bite if you touch or disturb them.
Flag or Surf Conditions:
Red Flag Conditions mean there are extremely hazardous ocean conditions with large powerful waves and strong rip currents.
During Red Flag Conditions in Virgin Islands National Park the concessioners' operational hours and visitor services will change to the following schedule:
- Water Sports Equipment Rentals at Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay Beach will not be available.
- Trunk Bay Bar and Beach Shop - Will open on a reduced schedule from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (minimum hours)
- Trunk Bay Snack Shack - Will open on a reduced schedule from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (minimum hours) to accommodate any visitors going to Trunk for lunch.
Yellow Flag Conditions mean there are moderate ocean hazards with frequent large waves and possible rip currents.
Green Flag Conditions mean there are minimum ocean hazards.