Navarre Beach lifeguard season has officially begun with guarded hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. During the peak season of Memorial Day through the Labor Day, guarded hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
In 2018, lifeguards performed 300 rescues or assists in guarded areas of Navarre Beach and 59 rescues or assists in unguarded areas to swimmers experiencing severe or moderate distress in the water. Lifeguards made contact with beachgoers more than 73,853 times last year, providing information about rip currents, beach condition flags and other safety tips.
"For the 2019 season, we hope to double our preventative actions with beachgoers and thereby lower the number of rescues needed," said Austin Turnbull, beach safety director.
Residents and visitors are urged to exercise caution when visiting the beach and swimming in the gulf, especially when lifeguards are not present. Current beach condition flag warnings are posted daily at each public access area and online at awww.santarosa.fl.gov:
Green flag - Low hazards and calm conditions are present, but exercise caution.
Yellow flag - Moderate surf and currents are present. Exercise extreme caution when entering the water.
Red flag - Strong currents and high surf conditions exist. No swimming or wading is permitted.
Double red flags - Only used during extreme conditions, double red flags indicate the water is closed to the public.
Purple flag - Dangerous marine life - such as jellyfish, stingrays or sharks ? may be present. Use caution in the water.
The most common reason for water emergencies is a lack of safety knowledge. While visiting the beach, follow these simple life-saving tips:
• Always abide by the beach warning flag system.
• Swim near a lifeguard and ask lifeguards where the safest locations are to swim.
• Never swim alone.
• Supervise children closely.
• Don't rely on flotation devices.
• Remember, alcohol and swimming don't mix.
• Never dive into unfamiliar waters - feet first, first time!
• Don't swim at dawn, dusk or at night as these are times when sharks feed.
• No place outside is safe in a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, go indoors.
• Learn how to break the grip of the rip current. Don't fight against the current, swim parallel to shore until you are free, then back to shore at an angle.
• Report hazardous conditions to beach management personnel, (850) 981-8888.
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