Beach Safety

.As a beachgoer, there are things you will want to know about the beach. The beach and the ocean can always be enjoyed provided proper respect is paid and a degree of care is maintained. When you consider that a 2-foot ocean wave can knock a 200 pound adult off his feet, you begin to get an idea of the power of the ocean.

Be Aware of Rip Currents

Rip Currents are very common on the East Coast of Central Florida. Those that are unaware of the rip current environment can get into trouble quickly, and often without warning.  Waves and currents can knock you off your feet even in knee-deep water. Sets of waves stacked together can change the water depth by several feet in an instant, overwhelming your ability to stand or run to safety.

What are Rip Currents?

  • They are channels of water flowing AWAY from shore at surf beaches. 
  • The speed and strength of these currents can change by the moment and can quickly become dangerous to anyone entering the surf.
  • These currents are dangerous because they are strong and will pull a person away from shore.

A narrow, darker gap between waves

A narrow, dark gap between areas of breaking waves is a sign of a rip current

Recognizing a Rip Current

  • Rip currents are visible as a gap of darker, seemingly calmer water between areas of breaking waves and whitewater.
  • A difference in water color.
  • A line of foam, seaweed, sand, or debris moving AWAY from shore toward the open ocean.
  • A channel of churning, choppy water.

What if I get caught in a rip current?

Know your options. If you get caught in a Rip Current:

  • Relax, rip currents DON'T pull you under.
  • Don't swim toward the shore (against the current).
  • You may be able to escape by swimming parallel to the shoreline or toward breaking waves, then at an angle toward the shore.
  • You may be able to escape by floating or treading water if the current circulates back toward the shore.
  • If you feel you are unable to reach shore draw attention to yourself - yell and wave your arms for attention and assistance.
RipCurrents Know Your Options

How to help someone caught in a rip current?

  • DO NOT attempt a rescue yourself.
  • Get help from a lifeguard.
  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Direct the swimmer to follow the shoreline to escape.
  • If possible, throw the swimmer something that floats.
  • NEVER enter the water without a floatation device.

Beach Safety Tips: 

  • Before entering the water, check with the lifeguards or local authorities about any specific rip current warnings or conditions.
  • Swim at beaches with lifeguards present and follow their instructions.
  • Never Swim alone, always have a buddy.
  • Keep an eye on children at all times and ensure they're supervised
  • Avoid swimming under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, seeking shade, and staying hydrated. 

What to know before you go to the beach

  • Know your environment before you go! Check the latest on the National Weather Service Forecast.
  • Ask lifeguards about rip currents and other hazards.
  • Check the flags posted by the lifeguard stand.

Stay aware, stay safe, and swim near a lifeguard!

Other Resources


Guarded beaches in Cocoa Beach: