How to Read Beach Swimming Flags

How to Read Beach Swimming Flags

Stay safe by reading these signs of weather conditions accurately.

Swimming in natural, open water can be freeing. As long as you don’t encounter a brain-eating bacteria and have it travel up your nose, it’s a wonderful experience.

How can you know it’s safe to enter the waves? Different bodies of water have different warning systems. When at a coastal beach, you’ll want to know how to read the water conditions and to help you, the United States Lifesaving Association, along with the International Lifesaving Federation has set up a system.

If you’ve visited the seaside you’ll probably be aware that flags let swimmers know if the waves are safe to ride and enter.

The ideal ocean swimming conditions are marked by a green flag. When you encounter these, the water is relatively calm, and you should expect smooth sailing, so to speak.

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When things pick up a little, flags change to yellow. This can indicate that rip currents are present and the waves are a bit more robust. Not a strong swimmer? Think about staying on the sand for the day if you see these.

And if you find red flags on the beach, search out an alternative activity for the day. You’ll want to wait the weather out. Red flags indicate hazardous conditions are present in the water, and you could be swimming straight into danger if you enter.

Strong surf and problematic currents aren’t something to contend with.

When you see a double red flag, fun times are definitely over. This signal indicates the beach is entirely closed to the public.

Stay out of the water- you could even risk being arrested if you enter, as it can indicate a hurricane is coming, or other potentially deadly conditions.

Swim safely, and come back for more.

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