It’s one of the biggest beach going days of the year. With that in mind and summer on the horizon, these are tips from local government to help San Diegans stay safe at the beach this summer.
1. Look For Warning Flags
In some spots, lifeguards will place flags in the sand to indicate how safe the water conditions are and what you can do.
- Black ball flag (yellow with a black ball in the center): No surfing
- Checkered flag: Boundary separating surfing and swimming
- Red flag: No swimming due to rip tides or other unsafe conditions
2. Check Lifeguard Hours
Especially if headed to the beach with young kids, make sure to swim near a lifeguard. Lifeguard hours vary by the beach, with some not staffed at all or only staffed by a patrol car.
3. Swim Safely
Learn to swim before heading into the ocean. When you do swim, never swim alone and don’t dive into the ocean head first.
4. Beware Of Inshore Holes
Inshore holes tend to aggregate near rip tides and are trenches or holes in the sand near shore. You’ve likely stepped in one before… going from knee-deep to waist-deep almost immediately. These are common in San Diego and very dangerous for children.
5. Call or Wave For Help
When enjoying the ocean, be mindful that lifeguards may not be able to distinguish whether your waving signals distress or having a good time. Please only call or wave for help only if you need it.
6. Check Water Quality
If water quality is a concern, especially after a rainstorm as storm drains enter the ocean. You can check ocean quality throughout the county online to see if you’d prefer to skip swimming on a particular day.
7. Rip Current Safety
Rip currents are the primary hazard for San Diego ocean lovers and responsible for 95% of rescues. If caught in a rip current, stay calm swim sideways (parallel to the shore) until free. Then swim at a diagonal toward shore. Rip currents are often identified by murky or foamy water moving seaward (out to sea) through the waves.
8. Pay Attention
Never turn your back to the ocean and always stay vigilant because conditions can change rapidly. If sting rays have been sighted (or perhaps if not) shuffle your feet in the sand to scurry them away.
9. Be Mindful Of The Temperature
Yes, this means protection our skin from the sun. But it also means, be mindful of hot sand and asphalt on sunny days.
10. Don’t Sit Under Bluffs
There are plenty of bluffs in North County and it’s wise to stay clear of them in case of falling debris.
- Imperial Beach Public Education
- Oceanside Chamber of Commerce
- California Parks and Recreation
- City of San Diego Lifeguard Services