Beach Flags + Safety in Destin-Fort Walton Beach

We want your perfect day on the beach to be filled with plenty of fun, sun, adventure, and relaxation. The beaches are watched over by county lifeguards; all lifeguards are academy trained to the advanced level of the United States Lifesaving Association's open water standard. They are also medically trained as first responders in accordance with the USDOT & NREMT standard curriculum. While the lifeguards are always ready to assist in an emergency situation, there are many precautions you can take to ensure a safe day in Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. 

It is essential to know these simple beach rules and flag warning systems before your day on the sugar-white sand.

Flag Warning System:

Flag Warning System
Pay close attention to the flag warning system. Even if the sky is sunny and the winds gentle, currents and surf could pose dangers. Avoid swimming when red flags are flying and remember knee deep is too deep when yellow flags are posted.

  • Green indicates low hazard and means calm conditions, but swimmers should exercise caution.
  • Yellow indicates medium hazard and means moderate surf and/or currents.
  • Red indicates high hazard and means high surf and/or currents.
  • An additional red flag means the water is closed to the public.
  • Purple indicates dangerous marine life.

Beware of Rip Currents:

Rip Current Guide

A rip current is a powerful channel of water flowing away from shore. While they cannot always be spotted, 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.
  • Swim out of the current then swim at an angle or toward the shore. Always swim parallel to the shore when attempting to swim out of the rip current. 
  • If you can’t escape, float or calmly tread water. 
  • Tide & Weather Information

Before you head to the beach, check the tide tables and solunar tables for the area. You can get the forecast for high tides, low tides, hours of maximum fish activity, weather conditions and other useful information at