Beach warning flags

Why does Florida need a uniform warning flag system?

Warning flags are posted by many coastal communities, but, the flags used to identify different tide and surf conditions vary from place to place. Many residents and visitors travel to different parts of the state to enjoy our wonderful public beaches. Differences in flag colors, size and symbols can confuse beach goers, thereby decreasing the effectiveness of efforts to improve public safety.

How does it work?

The beach warning flag program uses the colors adopted by the International Lifesaving Federation, with symbols added to clarify the meaning of the flags. The program also includes the placement of interpretive signs along the beach to explain the meaning each flag used in the warning system.

To the extent of available funds, the warning flags and interpretive signs are provided free of charge to local governments that provide public beach access. The communities that receive the free warning flags and interpretive signs are responsible for the installation, proper use, and maintenance of the flags and signs. Public beaches utilizing a warning system must adhere to the state’s uniform warning flag program.


Ray Manchester

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