Let’s unpack 5 Beach Safety Tips to carry with you on your vacation to the Florida Panhandle.
The Emerald Coast boasts 230 days of sun every year along with white sandy beaches and shimmering waters. It’s the region to travel to when you want to rest your soul and take things a little slower. But you’ll want to do it safely.
#1 Enjoy the Sunshine, But Not Too Much!
The sun is life-giving and rejuvenating but with a caveat. If care is not taken, our sun can be destructive. Protecting yourself from the sun must be your #1 rule while visiting Florida beaches.
- Bring shade, such as an umbrella or protective clothing.
- Always use sunscreen and be sure you reapply periodically and after swimming.
- Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of fluids.
- Don’t forget – eyes can be damaged by the sun too. Wear your shades.
- Avoid the sun in the hottest part of the day.
#2 Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Take note of where you enter the water. You can easily drift blocks from where you began. Choose a landmark when you enter the ocean and don’t lose track of it. Always keep a lifeguard tower near you and don’t swim in waters that reach above your waist.
#3 Know Your Beach Flags and Their Meanings
Remember, an absence of a flag is not necessarily a free pass. If there is no warning flag, be sure and ask a lifeguard about water conditions or potential hazards.
- A red flag warns of high hazards such as high surf and/or strong currents.
- A yellow flag is a medium hazard warning. It cautions moderate surf and/or currents.
- A green flag indicates low hazard or calm conditions. But it still means you should exercise caution.
- A purple flag means dangerous marine life, like sharks, stingrays, or jellyfish spotted.
- A double red flag means DANGER. The beach with this flag is closed to the public.
#4 Beware of Currents in the Panhandle – Don’t Get Swept Away!
A rip current is a flow of water rushing back out to sea. They don’t necessarily pull swimmers under, but they can pull them out to sea quickly. Here are some things to think of in case you encounter one.
- Remain calm and conserve energy.
- Don’t fight the current, the current wins every time.
- Think of a riptide and a fast-moving treadmill and basically just step off of it.
- If you’re unable to free yourself from the current, float calmly, and when free from the current, begin swimming to shore.
- Lastly, failing all else, draw attention to yourself, by raising your arms and yelling for help.
#5 Pay Attention to Thunder and Lightening
If you notice thunder or lightening, follow these instructions:
- Leave the water immediately, if you’re swimming offshore.
- If you’re out in a boat, turn back to shore as quickly and as safely as possible.
- If you’re unable to get to shore, lie down at the bottom of the boat or shelter in the cabin if available.
Be sure and stay up to speed on all the hot spots and sweet destinations in the Florida panhandle and don’t forget beach safety.
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