Summer will be here before you know it, which means beach season is fast approaching. Florida’s beaches are not only beautiful, but flocked to by tourists and locals alike for its waves and warm sand. It is important to keep some safety tips in mind before you take out your swimming trunks or bathing suit, however. Understanding safety precautions can help ensure that your day of fun does not turn into a tragedy.
- Beach Flags: Florida has a beach warning flag program, which uses colored flags to denote certain messages of caution.
- Double Red: Water closed to public
- Red: High hazard, high surf or strong currents.
- Yellow: Medium hazard, moderate surf or currents.
- Green: Low hazard, exercise caution.
- Purple: Dangerous marine life.
If there are no flags, that does not mean the waters are safe, so use good judgment and be cautious.
- Shuffle Your Feet: Dangerous marine animals, such as stingrays, bury themselves in the sand, usually in shallow water. Since they only sting in self-defense, shuffling your way into the water will give them forewarning to flee.
- Rip Currents: Rip currents kill more people than sharks, jellyfish, or hurricanes. They are powerful currents of water that flow away from the shoreline. Knowing how to get out of a rip current can save your life. First, stay calm and do not fight it. Instead, swim sideways, parallel to the beach, which will get you out of it, and allow you to swim back with the help of the waves. Once out of the current, swim at an angle away from the rip current, toward the shore. If you cannot reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and calling for help.
- Lifeguards: Always try to swim near a lifeguard.
- Swim in Groups: Not only can you keep each other safe if not everyone in the group is an adept swimmer, but swimming in groups can also help avoid shark attacks. Shark attacks are not that common, but exercising caution is never a bad idea.
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