It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and which means it’s time to hit the beach! Anyone who has suffered through a beach vacation with a nasty sunburn knows that a little safety prep goes a long way to ensure that you can fully enjoy your vacation time in Miramar Beach, Fl. The same goes for ocean safety. As serene as the water can be, it is a powerful force of nature. Trained and certified lifeguards are stationed along the coast to help keep you safe. You can do your part by making sure that everyone in your group – adults and kids alike – understand and observe beach flags and marine warnings.
What is the Beach Flag Warning System?
The Beach Flag Warning System is a statewide system that uses color-coded flags to let swimmers and beachgoers know what the conditions are like in the water that day. The city’s safety division monitors water and weather conditions to let you know if it is safe to swim. Conditions such as strong currents, rough surf, or even the presence of pesky critters like jellyfish are detected and reported to you using four colorful flags posted along the beaches.
What do the beach flags mean?
We are glad you asked! Each flag color represents a different set of conditions in the water. The flags refer to marine warnings about whether it’s safe to swim.
A green flag represents calm and safe seas. That green flag is like a green light to swim and splash to your heart’s content. Come on in, the water’s fine!
A yellow flag means that there may be moderate surf and/or currents. If you are not a strong swimmer, then stick to the shallow water (below the knee) when you see a yellow flag flying.
A red flag indicates high surf (waves) and/or strong currents. These are dangerous conditions for swimmers, so grab a beach read and stick to the sand if you see red.
Double Red Flag
If you see two red flags that means that the water is closed to the public. A double red flag means that ocean conditions too risky and entering the water is not allowed.
A purple flag means that marine pests are in the area. When known marine pests like jellyfish are in the water, then you’ll see this flag flying. The purple flag only applies to marine pests, so it’s usually flown alongside the green, yellow or red flag which indicates water conditions.
You’ll see these flags posted along the beach and at lifeguard stations. If you’re unsure about the local beach safety conditions or whether it is safe to swim, talk to a lifeguard. A handy map of the lifeguard stations along the beaches of South Walton can be found here.
It is important to understand that even if it’s a beautiful day outside, the conditions in the water can be dangerous. Strong surf, rip currents, and marine pests can and do happen under sunny skies, and beach safety conditions can even change throughout the day. Be sure to pay close attention to the flags to ensure that you and your family and friends have fun and stay safe.