SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The beaches will be packed with people enjoying the gulf for Labor Day weekend and crowded beaches means lifeguards will have their hands full.
They want to keep visitors safe during the busiest holiday weekend of the year.
“We get mass influxes of visitors to our area and it’s also a time where our locals have time off as well so we do see pretty populated beaches during that time,” Beach Safety Lieutenant Colin Perlaky said.
Perlaky said one way beachgoers can stay safe is to pay attention to beach safety flags.
“Sometimes we have people that have been coming here for years and they don’t know the flag system and they look at it and make their own assumptions. Other times we have people here for the first time and they’ve never seen these things before,” Beach Safety Lieutenant Colin Perlaky said.
Beach safety officials also said people often don’t realize how quickly the gulf can change.
“It’s an open body of water and we want to remind people that the gulf is to be respected at all times. So no matter your experience level, whether you’re an expert from the Outer Banks or California and you may disagree with our flag conditions, we know what we are doing, we know what the local conditions are, we know what the risks are so if you don’t know, ask,” South Walton Fire District Beach Safety Director David Vaughan said.
But beach conditions aren’t the only thing to pay close attention to.
With such a large number of people out on the beach, lifeguards often see kids wandering off and losing their parents.
“My best advice is when you get to the beach, take a picture of what your kid is wearing, know your location, pick out a landmark and try and get your family to rally around a point that everyone can agree that if you get lost or confused to go back to this spot,” Vaughan said.
There are 15 different lifeguard tower locations they hope to have fully staffed for the holiday weekend.
To check out the latest beach conditions they encourage you to download the South Walton Fire District app.