Know the Beach Warning Flags
When swimming in the Gulf, safety should always be a top priority. In Panama City Beach, color-coded beach flags are in place to keep the public aware of sea conditions at all times. Remember, double red means stay out of the water – you could be arrested for ignoring this warning! Stay aware, and have fun!
Double Red – Danger! Water Closed to Public
Single Red – High Hazard, High Surf and/or Strong Currents
Yellow – Medium Hazard, Moderate Surf and/or Currents
Green – Low Hazard, Calm Conditions, Exercise Caution
Purple – Dangerous Marine Life (Usually Jellyfish)
*Absence of Beach Flags Does Not Assure Safe Waters.
You can find lifeguards at the following three locations (7 days a week from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.):
M.B. Miller County Pier (May 27 – Labor Day Weekend)
Rick Seltzer Park (May 27 – Labor Day Weekend)
Russell Fields City Pier (April 1 – Labor Day Weekend)
*In the event of inclement weather, lifeguards may not be on duty.
By far the most common injury on the beach is also the most easily prevented! SUNBURN. Protect your skin. Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays. UVA which increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB which causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer.
Whenever you are going to spend time outside, be sure to wear sunscreen. It is advisable to wear at least SPF 15, or higher if you have fair skin. Most sunscreens require reapplication after a few hours, especially if you are sweaty or have been in the water. Please note that even when you are under an umbrella, you are still getting sun because the rays reflect off of the sand. Even when you are using sunscreen, most experts warn to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Wear sunglasses. They’re like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from the sun. Be sure to select sunglasses with labels indicating that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
Drink water frequently even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid substantial consumption drinks with alcohol or caffeine. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat’s effects on your body worse.
Though not a problem most of the year, people may experience respiratory problems such as coughing, sneezing, and tearing when red tide outbreaks occur along the coast. Offshore winds can blow these toxic effects onshore. Swimmers may experience skin irritation in areas of high concentration.