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Understanding The Beach Flag Warnings

We all love going to the beach, the sand, the breeze, the beautiful water and everyone relaxing having a great time. It can be easy to forget though that the beach and the Gulf of Mexico is part of mother nature, at times the water can be dangerous to get into. Mother nature unfortunately does not abide by anyone’s schedules or plans, we understand that it can be frustrating if the water is not perfect during what is supposed to be relaxing beach time. From overly rough waters, extremely dangerous rip-tides and even wild marine life there are several key things that the local authorities look and monitor to ensure conditions are safe for beach goers. Failure to follow these guidelines and paying attention to the flag posted up and down the beach can not only lead to fines and even jail time, but it can also be deadly.


Here’s a break down of the flag warning system, these flags can be found up and down the beach, if you do not happen to see a flag or to ensure you are seeing the most current flag please visit the Stay PCB Current webpage and see the most up to date current flag.


Here’s a breakdown of the flag warning system...




Stay OUT on Double Red Flag

When the double red flags are flying it means stay out of water completely. The Water is CLOSED COMPLETELY TO THE PUBLIC. While this is inconvenient, it is for good reason, it means extremely dangerous conditions have been spotted. Many times these can be things that are not necessarily visible to those may be hard to spot for most beach goers, such as extremely powerful rip currents, which can pull even experienced swimmers away and underwater.


Failure to abide and stay out of the water on Double Red Flags, not only leads to $500 fine or more, but can also lead to jail time. When getting into the water during Double Red Flag, it not only puts your life in danger but also puts any rescuer, lifeguard or other first responder’s life in danger as well that has to respond.



Red Flag

While we also advise staying out of the water on red flags, it is a little more discretionary, typically flag means there are dangerous conditions or rough water, but sometimes the conditions of a red flag can change and become more dangerous and even lead to doubl red flag conditions.



Yellow Flag

Yellow flags are the most common, conditions should be fine to get in the water and typically safe, but as always use common sense and caution.


Green Flag

Conditions are calm and safe.



Purple Flag

This means there is marine life in the area and to use caution or stay out of the water. While sharks may be the most notorious sea creatures that many fear, this most often along the Panhandle means there are jellyfish in the area or they have been spotted in larger than usual numbers along the beach.



Please note that the beach flags that are on the beach do take time and have to be raised and lowered to change them each time by local authorities. While they try and change as quickly as possible, this can lead to a little big of a lag in getting the flags updated to the current conditions. For that we recommend looking only at the Stay PCB Current webpage or you may also sign up for text alerts when the flags have been changed.


Sign up for Text Alerts

If you would like to receive text alerts when the beach flags change you can sign up by texting ‘PCBFLAGS’ to 888777.



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