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If you're travelling to the DR you definitely need to know one thing - the ocean is not to be underestimated!
The other crucial thing to know is that the safety standards of the hotels may not be anything like what you expect at home. M y brother was staying at the Excellence Resort and Spa Punta Cana and there were no lifeguards, no equipment (boats, jet-skis, boogie boards) available to assist if you are in the water and need life-saving rescue. Their staff had no idea what to do. They didn't even warn people that the waters were dangerous, which everyone should be told when they check-in to the resort. Everyone in the DR knows that those North East coastlines can be very dangerous.
If you go then follow these steps:
Ask about the conditions of the ocean and waves when you get there and every day you spend on the beach
Ask the resort what kinds of safety standards and procedures they have in place in case you need help
Demand to have things like boogie boards, life jackets, or life preservers handy if you do plan to go into the water
Don't let others go into the water if you know they are dangerous, but also don't try and risk your life saving someone who is in too deep. The ocean is unforgiving and has taken many lives!
It is likely that this is the case for lots of vacation places like the DR, most of the Caribbean likely. Wishing you all the best during your vacations and hoping that none of you have to go through the tragedy that m y family must endure.