Anouk Govil on Surfing for Beginners: Reminders and Warnings for Safety

Hi, all! It’s Anouk Govil once again. When you go to beaches, you’ll likely see reminders or warning posts or signs displayed on the beach. I encourage you to stop and read those signs because they were put there for your own safety and protection. Some of these signs are for the general beach-going public, while others are placed there at specific times, usually during weather disturbances, for those wishing to catch a wave or two on their surfboards. You should heed these warnings especially if you’re a new surfer.

For your reference, here are some of the most common reminders and warnings that beaches post for safety purposes:

For the general beach-going public:

The United States Lifesaving Association has these reminders for everyone going to the beach

  • Learn how to swim
  • Make sure to check if there is a lifeguard keeping an eye on everyone. And if you must swim, it’s best to swim where the lifeguard can easily spot you.
  • Hit the waters with someone who can swim too. In other words, always have a swim buddy with you when you’re out on the water.
  • Protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun by applying a liberal amount of sunscreen on your body: arms, legs, neck, and other exposed parts of the body.
  • Go into the water feet first
  • If you’re not confident about your swimming abilities, wear a lifejacket.Also, mind your manners; be considerate of other beach guests. And as a responsible citizen, do not litter the beach or throw garbage into the water. Water bottles, food wrappers, soda or beer cans, and such should be disposed properly.One other thing, pay attention to the flags and signs posted on the beach on the day of your visit, which brings us to the following:


    Hazard warning flags that are related to surf or current conditions are generally determined by the colors red and yellow. When a yellow flag is hoisted on the beach, it means Medium Hazard, which means that beginner swimmers or those who aren’t confident about their swimming abilities shouldn’t enter the water. The yellow flag means “moderate surf and/or currents.”

    The red flag is displayed when the currents are strong. In other words, the conditions aren’t ideal for all types of swimmers and surfers. Those who wish to enter should do so with extreme caution.

    There is another type of solid red flag displayed, and this is a red-on-red flag. When this is displayed on the beach, it means that the beach is closed to the public. No one should enter the beach.

    Another flag color that you should pay attention to is the purple flag. When this is displayed, it signifies the presence of marine creatures that can cause injury. These marine creatures include jellyfish, stingrays, and sea snakes.

    Remember the safety tips mentioned above regarding swimming within sight of the lifeguard? You should look for a red over yellow flag as the areas where these are displayed indicate that these are under the patrol of lifeguards, so this basically means you can see them where these flags are present.

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