At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’re going to remind everyone once again the importance of heeding the warning flags on the beach. They’re not waving as part of some festive decoration. The flags are there for your safety and the safety of your friends and family.
Last week, a man in his 20s drowned at Navarre Beach, and compared to this time last year, the number of water rescues has already tripled.
We have a long season ahead of us, so let’s play it safe while spending time at the beach.
Anytime you’re in the Gulf, you should exercise caution, no matter what color flag is displayed. But as an extra precaution, the flags let you know what to expect and whether or not you should jump in.
The green flag means there’s a low hazard and conditions are calm. Yellow flags indicate a medium hazard, with “moderate surf and/or currents.” The red flag indicates “high hazard, high surf and/or strong currents.” And if you see a double red flag, the water is closed to the public.
Navarre Beach Fire Chief Mike Howard urges swimmers not to go out past their knees, even when there’s a yellow flag.
Santa Rosa County doesn’t have an ordinance preventing swimmers from entering the water on a double red flag day, but if someone chooses to ignore the warning, first responders decide whether or not it’s safe enough to attempt a rescue.
Many people get a false sense of security at the beach, especially during a yellow or green flag day. The lifeguards are on duty, families are in the water, it’s a beautiful day, what could go wrong? Plenty. In the blink of an eye.
The county updates the flags each day at www.santarosa.fl.gov/navarrebeach