4 Safety Tips for the Beach

| October 8, 2020

A trip to the beach can be one of the most relaxing vacations out there. However, even with a beach vacation, there are always safety tips to keep in mind. By remembering these four things, you’ll ensure that your beach vacation is both relaxing and safe.

Warning Flags

In the state of Florida, public beaches with lifeguards must use the warning flag system. This system makes it easy to know exactly what condition the ocean is in for that day. Since our beaches have lifeguards, you’ll be able to consult the beach flag each day. The system is as follows:

  • Water Closed to Public – Double Red Flag. When the water is closed to the public, you will see two red flags. The top flag will be blank and the bottom flag will have a no swimming sign on it. This means that the public is currently unable to be in the water at that specific beach.
  • High Hazard – Red Flag. When you see a single red flag, this means the water is hazardous. This could mean a few different things, but it’s most likely high surf or strong currents. For your own safety, you’ll want to proceed carefully. High surf and strong currents both create hazardous swimming conditions.
  • Medium Hazard – Yellow Flag. When you see a single yellow flag, the water could be hazardous. Although this is not as extreme as a red flag, there is still likely moderate surf or currents present. Because of this, you’ll want to proceed with caution when swimming.
  • Low Hazard – Green Flag. When you see a single green flag, this means the water is relatively calm. It’s important to note, though, that you should still exercise caution when swimming in the ocean. Even when the ocean is calm, it’s important to practice safe swimming techniques.
  • Stinging Marine Life – Purple Flag. The presence of a purple flag indicates the presence of stinging marine life in the water. This could mean jellyfish, Portuguese Man-of-War, or stingrays. When this flag is present, exercise extreme caution if you decide to enter the water.

Swimming Areas

On many public beaches, there are designated swimming areas for beachgoers. These are indicated by buoys in the water.

The point of designated swimming areas is to separate swimming areas from boating and watercraft areas. For your own safety, you’ll want to stay within the designated swimming area.

Sun Exposure and Protection

In Florida, the sun is very strong. The intensity may be more than you’re used to normally. Because of this, there are a few safety tips to follow during your time on the beach.

First, on your first day in the sun, limit your exposure. If you only stay out in the sun for a couple of hours, you’ll be able to monitor how your skin reacts.

Second, and most importantly, be sure to always wear sunscreen. A minimum of SPF 15 applied regularly will help protect your skin from the intense Florida sun.

As a good rule of thumb, if your skin begins to burn, you should head inside for the day. Following these tips will help protect you from sunburns and sun poisoning.

Rip Currents

Rip currents can occur when the water pushed up on the shore is pulled back out to sea. These currents can be very dangerous to swimmers. They move quickly and can be hazardous to even the strongest swimmers.

To avoid rip currents, pay attention to the beach warning flags and only swim in areas monitored by lifeguards.

However, if you find yourself caught in a rip current, there are some tips to follow to stay safe. Remember that a rip current will not pull you under, so you can ride it out and then head back to shore.

Focus on treading water and waving for help. When you feel yourself coming out of the current, swim parallel to shore. Once you are outside of the rip current, swim straight back to shore.

Following these safety tips will ensure that your next beach vacation goes smoothly. By not having to deal with unsafe situations, you’re free to relax and enjoy all that Anna Maria Island has to offer!

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