Know BEFORE you go in the water!
- Check the National Weather Service Surf Zone Forecast: Before you leave for the beach, check the official surf zone forecasts and/or beach advisories and closings link. You also can ask your hotel or rental agency for local sources of weather and beach forecasts.
- Know How to Swim BEFORE You Venture In: Swimming in a pool is NOT the same as swimming at a surf beach with crashing waves, winds, and dangerous currents. Changing ocean currents and winds can quickly exhaust your energy and strength. You should be a strong swimmer before you go into the ocean, Great Lakes, or Gulf of Mexico. Many swimming programs now offer lessons in how to escape a rip current. According to the USLA, learning how to swim is the best defense against drowning.
- Know What the Warnings Flags Mean: Know what the warning flags mean. Read the beach safety signs at the entrance to the beach. Once on the beach, look for beach warning flags, often posted on or near a lifeguard's stand. A green flag means water conditions are safe and other colors mean conditions are not safe. These flags are there to protect you. Please read and obey the posted beach signs and warning flags. Warning flags aren't used in all areas and their meaning can vary from area to area. Check this link from U.S. Lifesaving Associaiton for info on the beach you are visiting.