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3 Jul 2019
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Your vacation should be filled with fun, laughter, excitement and happy times. Please don't forget to be safe while enjoying our beautiful beaches. Here are a few things you should know before you jump into the water.

 

It’s important to check which flags are out when you arrive at the beach and to know what they represent. Even if it’s a beautiful, sunny day, currents and surf could still pose varying levels of danger.

* 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.

 

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.