Beach Hazards

Overview

The beach is a wonderful place to relax and have fun, but there are several hazards to be aware of. Nassau county beaches are subject to the following hazards…

  • Rip Currents 
    • Rip currents are powerful, narrow
      channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West
      coasts of the U.S.
  • Lightning
    • Lightning storms are a common occurrence in Florida and can be a serious hazard that comes and goes quickly.
  • Heat and UV Exposure
    • The Florida heat can be brutal. It can dehydrate you, and the conditions at the beach amplify the suns affects, making you more likely to sunburn.
  • Wildlife
    • Florida is home to numerous wildlife that can become a hazard to beachgoers This includes jellyfish, alligators, and sharks.
Beach Warning Flags

Prepare

  • Ripcurrents
    • Text BCHSAFE to 888-777 to receive daily flag/ocean condition updates in Nassau County.
    • Educate yourself on how to spot a rip current.
    • Plan to swim with a lifeguard on duty.
  • Lightning
    • Monitor the weather forecasts before you head to the beach.
  • Heat and UV Exposure
    • Check the UV index and apply sunscreen before you go to the beach. Bring extra sunscreen and plenty of water.
    • Know the signs of heat exhaustion.
  • Wildlife
    • Educate yourself on the type of jellyfish that may be found in your area. Portuguese Man-O-War and cannonball jellyfish can be common in Nassau County. Have a plan if you are stung by a jellyfish. Bring a small bottle of vinegar if you are stung to alleviate some pain, and monitor the news for any increase in jellyfish population in your area.
    • Wear a protective suit if swimming in jellyfish populated waters to decrease your chance of getting stung.
    • It is extremely unlikely to be bitten by a shark, but review the tips from Florida Fish and wildlife on Shark Safety to reduce your odds of a shark attack.
    • Alligators are found everywhere in Florida. With the guidelines from Florida Fish and Wildlife, we can coexist peacefully with these creatures. It is important to keep your distance from Alligators, swim during daylight hours, and never feed them. For more information, click here.

Protect

  •  Rip Currents
    • Watch the video below to see how to survive a rip current. If caught in a
      rip current, don’t fight it! If you’re a strong swimmer, swim parallel to the
      shore and then swim back to land at an angle. Otherwise, float – the current
      won’t pull you under – then yell for help and wave your arms to attract the
      attention of someone on shore.
  • Lightning
    • If a lightning storm approaches when you are at the beach, take shelter in an enclosed building or in your car if it has a hard top.
  • Heat and UV Exposure
    • Limit your exposure to the heat and UV rays. 
    • If you feel dizzy, thirsty, nauseous, weak, or are sweating heavily, move to a cooler area, sip cool water, loosen clothing, and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
  • Wildlife
    • If stung by a jellyfish, rinse the sting with saltwater or vinegar to help alleviate pain. Once pain has subsided, scrape off tentacles with something other than your hands. Apply antihistamine cream to alleviate residual itching. If you have severe swelling, trouble breathing, seek medical attention.
    • Notify a lifeguard if you see a shark and exit the water. 
    • If you see an alligator, steer clear and notify a lifeguard.
Rip Current Options

Recover

  • Rip Current
    • Once out of a rip current, notify a lifeguard and swim diagonally to shore.
  • Lightning
    •  Stay vigilant. Even when there are blue skies, listen for thunder and continue to monitor the weather.
  • Heat and UV Exposure
    • Stay in a cool area and seek medical attention if heat related symptoms persist. Apply moisturizer and take cool showers/baths for sunburns. For more information on how to treat sunburns, click here.
  • Wildlife
    • Continue to monitor and treat your jellyfish sting if needed. If you begin to have a severe reaction or the symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
    • If sharks or Alligators are present in the water, stay out until a lifeguard deems the area safe. 

Table of Contents

It is important to know which hazards may affect your area and to prepare accordingly. From riptides to hurricanes, make sure to educate yourself to keep you and your family safe! For a list of hazards in Nassau County, click HERE.

Prepare a Go-Kit

  • Being prepared means having the supplies you may need in case of an emergency or disaster. Make sure to prepare a Emergency Kit that can last you at least 3 days for an evacuation and 2 weeks if sheltering at home. 
  • Basic Kit – This includes things like water (one gallon per person, per day), non-perishable food, flashlights, and extra batteries. For a more comprehensive list, go to ready.gov/kit.
  • Make sure to bring supplies, like games, puzzles, or other activities for children.
  • Pet considerations 
  • Senior Considerations

Shelter Plan

Evacuation Plan

Communications Plan