Home to more than 8,426 miles of coastline, Florida’s beaches are all typically safe for swimming year-round, notes the Florida Department of Health. However, certain conditions, such as water quality, the presence of marine wildlife, large waves and rip currents might make a specific beach unsafe at a given time.
Florida Beaches use a uniform flag warning system to advise beach goers of potential safety risks. These colored beach flags are there to help protect you. Here’s what they mean:
- Double Red – Danger! Water Closed to Public
- Single Red – High Hazard, High Surf and/or Strong Currents
- Yellow – Medium Hazard, Moderate Surf and/or Currents
- Green – Low Hazard, Calm Conditions, Exercise Caution
- Purple – Dangerous Marine Life (Usually Jellyfish)
- An absence of Beach Flags Does Not Assure Safe Waters.
A rip current is a flow of water moving in the offshore direction. They don’t pull people underwater – but they can pull you out to sea much faster than you can swim. Here’s our beach safety tips on how to break the grip of the rip.
- Remain calm; you need to conserve energy and think clearly.
- Never fight the current.
- Think of a rip current as a treadmill that can’t be turned off. You just need to step off of it.
- Just swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle (away from the current) toward the shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim toward the shore.
- If you are unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by lifting your arm and yelling for help.
Use plenty of SPF Suntan lotion as sunburn can occur rapidly while on the beach
Take precautions with small children and large waves. Always keep small children within your reach.
Always be on the lookout and stay safe!