Beach Safety 101 in Orange BeachEva Faircloth - December 27, 2022
It’s easy to feel carefree when you’ve got your toes in the sand at your favorite Orange Beach resort. But, remember to review beach safety 101 with your family before dipping your toes in the water.
Check the Daily Beach Report
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach make it easy to check the current conditions with a daily beach report that covers everything from surf conditions and water temperatures to wind speeds and more. You can access the daily report online or by calling 251-968-SURF (7873). You can also text ‘ALBEACHES’ to 888-777 to receive daily reports for the duration of your trip.
Follow the Beach Flags
Our beaches have adopted a flag warning system to keep you informed of surf conditions on the coast. The flags are posted at all public beaches and at many condominiums along the coast. The system follows a basic traffic light format so it’s easy to remember:
- Green: Good Conditions, Low Hazard
- Yellow: Moderate Hazard, Use Caution
- Red: High Hazard, Swimming Not Advised
- Double Red Flags: Water Closed to Public
- Purple: Dangerous Marine Life is Present
Be advised that the flag warning system doesn’t guarantee safe water conditions, and you should always exercise caution when entering and swimming in the Gulf. Also note that it is illegal to enter the water within city limits when a double red flag is displayed.
Know the Lifeguard Locations
The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach provide seasonal lifeguard services during the months of March and September. Lifeguards are posted at all public beaches during this time, and swimmers are encouraged to stay in the protected areas when lifeguards are present. Be aware of the local lifeguard locations and plan your swim accordingly, especially if you aren’t a strong swimmer. Even popular resorts like The Beach Club and Turquoise Place do not have designated lifeguards on-duty.
Beware of Rip Currents
A rip current is a narrow channel of fast-moving water that flows away from the beach with powerful force. They are common in our area and can be hard to spot from the shore. Unsuspecting swimmers can get caught in a rip current and swept outwards with surprising speed. While this isn’t inherently dangerous, swimmers who struggle against the current are quickly fatigued and can succumb to drowning.
To stay safe while swimming, learn how to spot a rip current and try to avoid hazardous surf conditions. If you do get caught in a rip current, don’t struggle – remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current.