The beach is, without a doubt, a great place to spend the night, especially with a group of camping friends. But is it safe to swim at night in the ocean?
No, it’s not safe to swim at night because of dangers posed by rip currents, sharp rocks, shells, and sea creatures! However, you can make the experience much safer if you swim in low tide, wear swim shoes, take a friend, and swim close to the shorelines.
How about just going to the beach? Can you go to the beach at night?
*This post may include affiliate links. When you purchase items from these links, we will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, to help support this website. Thank you for your support! Read more ->
Well, it depends on the laid down rules. It might be illegal in some places, not just to swim but to go to the beach at night. (Read more here)
Overall, swimming is among the most exciting things to do at the beach at night. It’s less crowded at night, and that makes it peaceful to dive into the cold water. (Find out when is the best time to go to the beach here!)
Is It Safe To Swim At Night In The Ocean? The Dangers
The reason why I began this post with affirming that it’s not safe to swim at night is because of these threats:
1. Foreign Objects
The most everyday foreign objects that pose a danger to you when swimming at night are:
- Sharp Rocks
Sharp rock deposits can easily hurt your feet if you go swimming barefoot.
Tip – Don’t go swimming at night in the ocean barefoot. Ensure you wear the right water shoes.
While picking water shoes, ensure the soles are thick to offer your feet adequate cushioning.
Is it dangerous to swim in the ocean at night when there are shells on the ocean floor? Yes, seashells also pose the same threat as sharp rocks.
They are likely to move across the ocean floor, thus harder to avoid.
Tip – Also, ensure you don’t go swimming in the ocean at night barefoot. Instead, find the most comfortable water shoes with thick soles to wear.
2. Sea Creatures
Some of the most dangerous sea creatures to be wary of are:
- Sea Urchins
Sea urchins mostly lie deeper in the waters and are about 1-4 inches in size. But despite their small sizes, these sea creatures have rigid spines and can sting when you step on them.
The sting contains a toxin that can cause respiratory complications.
Tip – Avoid swimming deeper, near the ocean floor. Keep as close to the surface as you can. Also, ensure you wear water shoes with thick soles.
Though sharks attacks are not typical, these sea creatures are more active at night. As a result, it’s not safe for you to swim in a shark-prone area.
Sharks generally stay deep in the sea but sometimes swim with the waves. It’s believed that splashing water, bright clothes, and flashy jewelry attract sharks.
Tip – Avoid swimming at the beach when the waters are murky or swimming towards the waves. Also, avoid bright clothes, flashy jewelry, and splashing water.
Additionally, look for signs warning of recent shark sightings. They are there for a reason, and that is to keep you safe.
Jellyfish have venom-armed tentacles. So, the venom can shoot out in case you step on the sea creature.
Jellyfish travel in groups, and so you should watch out for them.
Tip – Don’t step on a group of creatures with coiled threads. They are more likely to be jellyfish. Also, ensure you wear water shoes before going swimming. Also check your local websites to see if there have been recent sightings.
Stingrays live on the ocean floor, and they generally are nonaggressive. They, however, can turn aggressive to shoot a toxin when stepped on.
Unfortunately, the toxin can cause inflammation and cramps.
Tip – Avoid stepping on things in the waters. It’s also paramount that you have your feet protected with good shoes.
3. Rip Currents
Rip currents are aggressive water currents that can carry things and even people along the seashore.
The currents can be unpredictable and hard to overcome. So, they can trap you away from the coastline.
Tip – Check with the local authority to ensure that you swim in the ocean at night when the tides are low. It’s also essential that you don’t panic when caught in aggressive rip currents.
What Is The Safest Time Of Day To Swim In The Ocean?
Usually, there are no specific timelines for swimming during the day around public beaches. The timelines mostly apply to nighttime swimming.
Generally, the safest time to swim at night in the ocean is during the full moon. Moonlight provides you with sufficient light to improve your vision underwater.
You should note, however, that not all states allow nighttime swimming in the ocean. So, it’s recommended that you check with the local government first.
They should have the guidelines for swimming in the ocean at night. You can also check the allowed times of the day and night.
How to Swim in the Ocean at Night – Steps To Take
Here are the critical steps for swimming at night anywhere where it’s legal to do so:
- Make sure you’ve got the energy and ability
Swimming can be a lot of fun, but make sure you feel up to it before swimming at night. With there being fewer people around and it being dark, you really need to feel confident in your swimming to get you back to shore safely.
- Check the tide charts
The worst you can do as a swimmer is to jump into the waters when the tides are high. That puts you in the path of dangerous sea creatures like sharks.
So check the tide charts locally to pick a night when the tides are calmer!
- Wear protective gear
Be ware of stingrays, jellyfish, crabs, sharp rocks, and seashells. They are not kind to your feet, and that’s why you need to wear the right swimming or water shoes.
Also, wear a wet suit to protect your skin against sea irritation. Additionally, wear a swim mask or goggles for underwater visibility.
Find out which is better: wet suit vs dry suit!
- Mark the entry point
Unless you are familiar with the ocean, you shouldn’t just get into the waters without marking the entry point.
Tip – Use a flashlight or other light source so you can easily see it as you’re leaving the water.
- Swim close to the beach
It’s tempting to swim further away from the shoreline, to explore the ocean more. That, unfortunately, is not a smart move.
You should save energy for the return swim. You might need it, especially if you’ve been swimming with the waves and have to fight them going back.
- Go low when a strong tide approaches
Sometimes, strong tides are unexpected. Therefore, if an intense wave approaches you while in the water, swim underneath it.
Try to maintain a low swimming profile not to be swept away by the strong tide.
Also Read: Best Fishing Kayak For Big Guys
Other Safety Tips on ‘Is It Safe To Swim at Night In The Ocean?’
- Take a friend
Is it safe to swim at night in the ocean solo? The answer is no! So, find someone to accompany you.
Even if they don’t swim at night, they should be your eyes in case something goes wrong. And if they agree to swim with you, plan on staying close to one another.
- Don’t swim under the influence
This doesn’t just apply to nighttime swimming or swimming in the ocean.
Never swim anywhere at any time when you are under the influence of alcohol or any other judgment-impairing drugs! If you do, the risks of drowning are much higher.
- Slide your feet along the ocean floor
Instead of stepping directly on things that are on the ocean floor, consider brushing them with your feet. That allows you to avoid defensive reactions from dangerous sea creatures like stingray and sea urchins.
Such creatures become aggressive when stepped on.
- Swim away from coral reefs and piers
Given that coral reefs are home to aquatic life, you are likely to find sea urchins and other sea creatures. Similarly, fishing piers attract sharks and large sea species.
So, you should avoid both features as they only put you in more danger at night.
- Prepare for rip currents
The best way to handle a rip current is to stay calm. Remember, though rip currents are likely to occur at the inlets, although that is not always the case. These dangerous waves may make it hard for you to break free once you get caught.
The best thing you can do during late night swims is to stay calm and try to breathe normally. Then go with the current until it sets you free near the shoreline.
Also Read: Best Tubes For River Tubing
- Tie a reflective tape around you
You can tie a reflective tape around your wrist to let other swimmers see you. In general, that’s important when you swim away from each other.
Remember, however, that too much light can easily attract sea predators. So, having a bright flashlight with you is not a good idea.
If it’s too dark, then you should postpone and wait for the full moon.
- Use public entry and exit points
Always get into and out of the water through public lands. If you do it on private beaches, then you’ll be liable for trespassing.
So, now you know the answer to: is it safe to swim at night in the ocean? While it’s unsafe to do it, there are things you can do to make it safer.
Make sure the timing is right and you’ve taken the necessary precautions.