JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sharks and other marine life call the ocean home. Most of the time, you don't know they are there. A lifeguard sees the ocean much clearly than beach goers.
"Ninety percent of the time if there is dangerous marine life, they are not worried about swimmers and are just going to cruise on by," said Ponte Vedra Beach Lifeguard Tyler Willets.
The marine life are rarely a threat to swimmers in the water. Therefore, a close eye is kept on the them as they swim near the shoreline.
"They (sharks) are always out there. The only time that we will ever warn anybody about dangerous marine life or get people out of the water is if they are very close to our swimmers or showing signs of aggressive behavior," said Willets.
You may not know when the sharks or other marine life are in the area.
Willets said majority of dangerous marine life is not worried about the swimmers. But when they don't cruise on by and show aggressive behavior, that is when they take action.
"Some of the signs would be thrashing in the water, quick aggressive movements such as when you see a shark go for a fish and any kind of marine life that goes for a fish," said Willets. "It is very quick, fast, and turns up the water."
Lifeguards go through extensive safety and physical training. That training helps protect you, your family and other swimmers.
"Basically the first part of our training was first responder training dealing with first responder training from a band-aid to heat exhaustion and spinal injuries," Willets said. "Going through the process of what we need to accomplish, who we need to call. And the second portion of our training was ocean rescues, how to approach certain victims.
"...We do physical training every day. We have a set list of things to do each day while we are on duty and before they hire you on you have to pass a certain number of physical tests."
If you get bit by a shark while in the water, the lifeguards have the training to give you the care needed.
"As far as set precaution for it, it's get them out of the water and stop the bleeding as quickly as possible," said Willets. "What is the situation, where the bite is, how severe it is and then it is a medical procedure after that. First thing is to stop the bleeding, that is your number one priority, and then you work from there to treat them for shock, get them on oxygen and get EMS on the way."
It is also important to remember that the ocean has a lot of marine life. You should always be aware of your surroundings while swimming.
"For swimmers, just be mindful that it is the ocean there are rip currents everywhere. Just be aware and stay close to the lifeguards and don't swim past your capabilities," said Willets. "It makes it easier for them and makes it easier for us."
First Coast News