It is currently the swimming season in the United States, but authorities are approaching the season with caution to prevent accidents from occurring. In Florida, a row of red flags with white circles were placed at Vilano Beach to remind and warn beach goers not to swim near the rock jetties at the entrance to the St. Augustine inlet. Most of whom end up having a tan instead of getting into the waters.
According to Lt. Jeremy Robshaw, St. Johns Fire Rescue spokesman, that is a much smarter thing to do. “Pay attention to conditions. We want to caution people to remember that when they come to pay attention to the conditions. The big thing we say is pay attention to the beach flags,” he stated, summing up his advice for the National Beach Safety Week, which is a annual event meant to remind individuals to be caution whenever they are swimming in the ocean.
The purpose of the flags being placed along the shore line is to act as a warning regarding the surf conditions. For example, the red flag with a line through a graphic of a swimmer indicates that swimming is not permitted in that designated area due to danger. There are also many other flags that provides various indications and what one should be cautions about. “Most people who come to the beach can swim, but for those people who are not used to the ocean environment and grew up swimming in lakes and pools it’s much different. There’s a lot more current activity and a lot more surf activity among many other factors,” explained Lt. Jeremy.
Beach safety week is also in conjunction with Rip Current Safety, a national campaign. According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are basically strong narrow currents moving away from the shore. They mentioned that the strongest can reach speeds of up to eight feet per second, which is actually even faster than the speed of an Olympic swimmer. “The natural reaction is to panic (when caught in a rip tide). You have to remember it’s not going to pull you under, it’s going to pull you out,” said Lt. Jeremy. The best way to overcome a rip current is to keep calm, swim parallel to the shore and once out of the rip current, swim back to the beach. For more of the story, click here.