Beach Safe Know Before You Go

Beach Report and Safety

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

DAILY BEACH REPORT:

Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Yellow beach flag Medium Hazard Moderate surf and/or currents
Medium Hazard
Moderate surf and/or currents
Purple flag marine pests are present exercise caution
Marine Pests are Present
Exercise caution
  • Today’s flag color: Yellow & Purple Flags. Yellow Flags represent Medium Hazard with Moderate Surf and Current. Purple Flags are for the presence of Jellyfish. Please swim with caution.  
  • Gulf temperature: 88 Degrees
  • Surf conditions: Fair with waves at 1 foot or less and east running currents.
  • Rip current forecast: Low Risk
  • Daily weather: Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms are likely. The high is 82 degrees.
  • Wind: Southwest winds around 5 to 10 mph.
  • UV index: Very High.
  • Tides: High Tide is at 6:40 AM & 3:23  PM. Low Tide is scheduled at 11:24 AM & 10:30 PM.

BEACH FLAG WARNING SYSTEM

Beach warning flags are posted at all public beach areas in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Gulf State Park. Conditions are monitored throughout the day. Please remember that the absence of red flags does not assure safe conditions. Within the corporate city limits of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, it is illegal to enter the Gulf of Mexico when two red flags are displayed.

Yellow Beach Flag medium hazard moderate surf and/or currents
Medium Hazard
Moderate surf and/or currents
Purple Beach Flag - Marine pests are present exercise caution
Marine Pests are Present

Exercise caution

Red Beach Flag High Hazard High surf and/or strong currents

High Hazard
High surf and/or strong currents
Double red flags water is closed to public. It is illegal to enter the Gulf of Mexico within the corporate limits of either city when two red flags are displayed
Water Closed To The Public
It is illegal to enter the Gulf of Mexico within the corporate limits of either city when two red flags are displayed. 

 

Watch this short video to learn about the beach safety flag meanings.

PLAY IT SAFE

Before heading out to the beach, check for current beach conditions to ensure you have a safe and fun experience. There are several ways to check beach conditions: 

GET DAILY SURF CONDITIONS BY TEXT 

Sign up to receive daily beach conditions and warning flag status by texting ALBEACHES to 888777. At the end of your vacation, opt out of the text alerts by texting STOP.

CHECK SURF CONDITIONS BY PHONE

For beach conditions in Gulf Shores, call 251-968-SURF (7873).
For beach conditions in Orange Beach, call 251-981-SURF (7873). 

CHECK SURF CONDITIONS ONLINE

For beach conditions across the entire Alabama coast, visit the National Weather Service, then select the Rip Current tab. 

GET WEATHER ALERTS AND WARNINGS BY TEXT

For additional weather alerts and warnings for the local area, text ALERTBALDWIN to 888777. At the end of your vacation, opt out of the text alerts by texting STOP

BEWARE OF RIP CURRENTS

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water moving quickly away from shore. They occur on all beaches and may happen at any time. Before you hit the beach, learn how to recognize a rip current and how to escape if caught in one. 

HOW TO SPOT A RIP CURRENT

  • Rip currents are most prevalent when the waves crash perpendicular to the beach rather than at an angle.
  • One of the easiest ways to spot a rip current is to look for gaps between the waves. A small patch of calm water surrounded by waves is often a rip current. 
  • Look for discolored water near the shore. Rip currents tend to drag large amounts of sand and sediment back out to sea with them, so many rip currents are easily identified by a noticeable flow of sand extending away from the shore.
  • Rip currents are also common in areas near sand bars, piers, pilings and jetties. 
Rip Current

    HOW TO ESCAPE A RIP CURRENT

    • Remain calm. Fighting the rip current can exhaust you. 
    • Escape the current by swimming parallel to the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—toward shore. 
    • If unable to escape by swimming, float, or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward the shore.
    • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call, or wave for help.
    • To help someone else caught in a rip current, first call 9-1-1 for assistance, then seek help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape or throw the victim something that floats. 

    KNOW YOUR LOCATION 

    You may not always know the address of your location or how to instruct others to find you. With the what3words app, your location can be pinpointed within a 10-foot square. The entire world has been given a unique combination of three words for each 10-foot square: a what3words address. Now you can find, share and navigate to precise locations using three simple words. And while there are many ways to use the app, some of the best uses within our destination include: 

    • Helping emergency services find you
    • Finding your way back to your parking space
    • Helping others find you at a festival or event
    • For trail navigation

    Learn more and download the app at what3words.com.
     

    SWIM SAFELY IN THE GULF OF MEXICO 

    Swimming in the Gulf is much different than swimming in a pool. It is important to respect the strength of the sea and the marine life that lives there. 

    • ALWAYS check surf and weather conditions before heading to the beach and observe beach flags.
    • Never swim alone. Always stay in groups. Don’t wander too far from shore. 
    • Don’t swim near piers, pilings, and platforms. Exercise caution when swimming in areas between sandbars or near steep drop-offs. 
    • Do not swim in areas being used by fishermen. Avoid swimming in areas where schools of fish are present. Diving seabirds are good indicators of areas to avoid.
    • Alcohol and swimming do not mix. 
    • Use extra caution when water is murky. Avoid being in the water during dusk, nighttime, or twilight hours.
    • Avoid wearing shiny jewelry and clothing. 
    • Stay informed of local weather and beach conditions.

    SUN SAFETY

    • Protect your skin:  Always wear a sunscreen appropriate for your skin type, paying special attention to face, nose, ears, shoulders, and feet. Protect your lips as well. Most people don’t realize how much sun they’re getting until it’s too late. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and should be reapplied every two hours or after getting wet. 
    • Children Need Extra Protection: Liberally apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Make sure children wear sun hats and sunglasses. Re-apply sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming. 
    • Drink Plenty of Water: Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine, which can dehydrate you. 
    • Protect Your Eyes:  Ultra-violet (UV) rays can damage your eyes. Don’t forget your sunglasses. 
    • Beware of Heat Stroke: Watch for hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. If someone shows symptoms, call 911. Keep the victim lying down and cool the body by placing ice packs or cold packs on wrists, ankles, armpits, and neck. Wet towels may also be used.
    • Sunburn Relief: Drink lots of water. Soak in a cool bath or apply cold compresses several times a day. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may help relieve pain and swelling, and aloe vera may help relieve the burn. Do not apply petroleum jelly or oil-based lotions.