Destin-Fort Walton Beach offers unbelievable white sandy beaches and clear water. Your safety is our top priority as you venture out to enjoy the day. Here are key beach safety tips to remember:
Flag System & Rip Currents
Make sure you know the flag color before stepping into the beautiful Gulf of Mexico Water:
- Green indicates low hazard and means calm conditions, but swimmers should exercise caution.
- Yellow indicates medium hazard and means moderate surf and/or currents. Knee deep is too deep.
- Red indicates high hazard and means high surf and/or currents. Avoid swimming.
- An additional red flag means the water is closed to the public.
- Purple indicates dangerous marine life.
Okaloosa County Public Beaches have flag colors posted on a daily basis. The flag colors can be changed in the same day based on current conditions, so be sure to keep an eye out. Here is a link to check local beach conditions:
A rip current is a powerful channel of water flowing away from the shore. Even the most athletic and strongest swimmers can be pulled out into the Gulf by a mild rip current. Swimming against a rip current, that means towards the shore, will tire anyone out in a matter of seconds, and the results could be disastrous. However, rip currents don’t have to ruin your day at the beach. Follow these rules, and you’ll be back to enjoying your beach day in no time.
- One of the best visual indicators of a rip current is a gap between waves.
- If caught in a rip current, do not swim against it. This is commonly an individual’s initial instinct, but can wear out even the best swimmers in seconds.
- Swim out of the current and then swim at an angle or toward the shore. Always swim parallel to the shore when attempting to swim out of the rip current, and never directly towards the shore.
- If you can’t escape, float or calmly tread water. Face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
Weather plays an important role when it comes to beach safety. No one likes rain when they are trying to enjoy the beach, but the weather can change quickly and thunderstorms can pop up on a regular basis in Northwest Florida.
When thunder roars, go indoors. Thunderstorms are usually gone in 30 to 45 minutes.
HEAT & UV
Everyone wants to enjoy a sunny day at the beach, but as the temperature goes up so does the risk of heat exhaustion. Stay hydrated and make sure to drink plenty of water!
The UV rays are strong in Florida so apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before hitting the beach, and reapply throughout the day. Even on a cloudy or cool day, sunburns can be a damper on a relaxing day.
Being aware of rip currents, weather, and the heat can help make your experience at our beaches relaxing and fun! Grab the beach chair and towel, and enjoy the water while observing these tips to keep your family safe.