Current & Rip Tide Information

                                        RIP TIDE INFORMATION:
Following a few safety tips can keep you safe in case something goes wrong. At the toll booth onto the island, and at the lifeguard stations, color coded flags are flown that tell how safe the water is for swimming.
Image:Pensacola-Beach-Green-Flag.png Low hazard, calm water, swim with caution.
Image:Pensacola-Beach-Yellow-Flag.png Medium hazard, moderate surf and/or currents. Rip tides may be present. Weak swimmers shouldn't go deeper than waist-height.
Image:Pensacola-Beach-Red-Flag.png High hazard, high surf and/or strong currents. Rip tides are highly likely. No one should be swimming, but occasionally, surfers take advantage of the high waves during red flag conditions. Expect to be warned about dangerous conditions by lifeguards and police.
Image:Pensacola-Beach-Double-Flag.png Water closed to public. Usually flown during hurricanes. You can be arrested for swimming during double red flag conditions.
Image:Pensacola-Beach-Purple-Flag.png Dangerous marine life, typically jellyfish, or occasionally red tide. Usually flown along with another color flag.
 

Rip tides are powerful currents that occur when water trapped near the shoreline escapes back into the ocean through a break in an underwater sandbar. They can drag even powerful swimmers out to sea for a very long distance. To escape a rip tide, do not panic! If you are near a lifeguard station, you can wave your arms and shout for help. Wait until the rip tide is no longer carrying you out further from land, then swim parallel to the shoreline to escape the current. Then, you can swim back towards shore. To avoid rip tides, don't swim between the shoreline and underwater sand bars, don't swim during low tide, and pay attention to the color-coded flags.