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safety logoGo slow and stay low.
Go with a buddy.
Tell others where you are going.


See also: DIVING, BOATING, REFUGE & Refuge Use Guidelines

tidepoolMy own experience certainly brought this to my attention. Below is an x-ray of my right elbow showing a compression fracture from a fall I took. I have also broken thumbs, ankles, and  ribs. Others have broken legs.

We live in paradise at Hopkins with easy access to a variety of habitats right outside the lab door. We don't normally think of the intertidal as dangerous. IT IS!



X-ray of broken armSome suggestions:


The shoes I wore were almost slick from use. The bottoms of most hip boots are not much better! Freya recommends dive booties, reef walkers, or a GOOD brand of hip waders. The waders should have tread on them at least 1/4 inch thick. Especially with hip waders is that they should be a good fit. Too large and you will take a fall!



Thick pants, gloves come to mind. At this point I am thinking that maybe even the gear worn by roller bladers might be appropriate; helmets, elbow, wrist, and shin guards. Think about it. May look silly, but I would risk that to avoid what I went through.



If you fall and break a leg or arm or even worse yet, your head or back, who is going to get help? Most tides are at the early or late hours, when few other people are around. Knocked unconscious you cannot call for help! You would not go diving or boating without a buddy. The intertidal can be just as dangerous!



Just like having a buddy, it is a good idea to tell other people in the lab where you are going. Probably the least effective protection, at least we will know to look for your BODY!



Besides being closer to the ground when you do fall, you are also more stable and less likely to fall. Crawling is OK if you need to!




Even with slick shoes and no other protection, if I had taken it easy and not hurried to get to the "el primo" spot, I might not have gotten into trouble. Algae is VERY SLICK! Quartz rocks are VERY SHARP!

A lot of useful research can be done in the intertidal. The numbers of plants and animals for study is phenomenal!

Let's be SAFE!

Watch for waves: We loose tourists every year to the "sneaker wave".

UV Exposure

UV spectrum of sunlightUltraviolet light is the leading cause of blindness in older adults. This is a result of a LIFETIME of exposure. Even eyeglasses are much better than nothing in regards to UV, but polarized UV opaque sunglasses are best. There is a lot of light out there in the intertidal, even on cloudy or foggy days.

Skin cancer is on the rise world wide and skin cancers are among the most deadly. Full clothing, wide brimmed hat and sunblock are highly recommended.