Beach Safety

Look for Warning Flags or Posted Signs

Warning flags come in different colors (usually red, yellow, green, and blue), and may have different meanings from state to state. If you are unsure of the meaning of a warning flag, make sure to ask the local beach patrol or lifeguard on duty. Green Flags usually indicate ideal swimming conditions like a calm surf and clear water. Yellow flags usually indicate a stronger current and surf, so always exercise caution when swimming or surfing in these conditions. Red flags usually indicate strong current and rough surf conditions, and if swimming is permitted during these conditions it is best to swim near a lifeguard station for additional safety. Blue flags indicate caution to marine life in the beach area, and may be because of an increase in jellyfish or even a shark sighting.

Be Prepared if You Plan on Swimming

Ocean swimming is much different than in a pool. There are strong currents and waves, marine life, an uneven ocean floor, and potentially sharp shells or rocks. Do not swim near piers or jetties, as rip currents often form near these structures. Rip currents tend to form near the shore and have a circular pattern. If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline. When you feel you have made your way out of the current, turn and swim towards the beach. It is always best to swim with someone else, or with someone nearby. If you are just beginning to swim, a life jacket or floats should be worn for extra safety.

Pack a Tote With Beach Supplies

The beach gets hot in the summer. Be prepared to take breaks to hydrate and stay cool. Bring water, a small first aid kit, beach umbrella or hat, sandals, sunglasses, sunscreen, towel, and a chair. Be aware on the amount of time you spend in the sun. Heat stroke or exhaustion can result from too much sun exposure. If you feel sickness, dizziness, headache, fatigue, or uncomfortable in any way, seek shade and drink water to cool down your body temperature. If your symptoms are serious, see a medical professional as soon as possible.

Check The Weather Forecast

Check the weather before planning a day at the shore. Storms can roll in quickly, and thunderstorms with lightning do not mix well with open beach spaces and ocean water. If you are at the beach when a storm comes in, exit the water immediately and seek shelter until the storm passes.

Preserve the Sand Dunes

Look for public access signs for walkways and sand paths to the beach. Please avoid waking through dunes so they are not damaged. Walking or playing on the dunes can damage the dune and dune vegetation. The vegetation must stay well rooted for the dune to stay healthy and accumulate more sand. Dunes provide protection and habitat for vegetation and specialized animals, and provide stability and protection from flooding and erosion.

Be Kind to Beach Life

Sea turtles are a popular beach resident. Keep our beaches and turtles healthy by filling in holes (digging is fun at the beach, but fill the holes back in once you are done) removing all of your beach items at the end of the day (tents, umbrellas, chairs, and any other beach gear), picking up any trash or recyclables, and keeping ocean-side lighting and flashlights to a minimum at night. Our beaches and turtles will appreciate it.