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"Ocean Smart" Guide

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 Lifeguard looking at the Ocean


Note: Signage has been placed at unguarded areas of the public beach; the public is urged to swim at lifeguard-supervised beaches.


Swim Near a Lifeguard

In the lifeguard supervised areas of Fort Lauderdale Beach drowning is very rare. Most drownings or water related fatalities occur in unsupervised areas that are out of the lifeguard’s zones.

Lifeguard towers 1-20 are staffed 365 days a year.

Spring/Summer : 9:45 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Fall/Winter : 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Never Swim Alone

This applies to everyone. The buddy system is even used by our lifeguards themselves.

Always do your best to bring a partner, who can swim well, with you in the water. If not at least try to have someone on shore who can call for help in an emergency situation

Swim Sober

Alcohol is a major factor in many drownings. It impairs swimming abilities and good judgement. 

RIP Current new picDon't Fight the Current

If you are caught in a rip current, or rip, don’t fight it by trying to swim to shore. Instead swim parallel with the wind. If you are unable to do so or feel tired, float. 

You can learn more about rip currents at

Don't dive headfirst

The tide changes constantly meaning that an area that was once deep can now be dangerously shallow. Diving headfirst into shallow water can lead to serious lifelong injuries. Go feet first until you reach a safe deep spot.

Don't float where you can't swim

If you are not able to swim or swim well stay close to shore.

Floats and floatation devices are welcome on low wind days. However, children with floats, wings and/or a life jacket still need to be supervised and within arm’s reach from an adult.

 Always keep your children close

Children should always be supervised by an adult and never go to the water or in the water alone. Keep them within arms reach so that you are able to quickly respond in any incident.

Leash Your Board

Surfboards, body boards and paddle boards should only be used with a leash. These leashes are usually attached to the board and then to your ankle or wrist. This way during falls or another situation it will keep you from being separated from your board. 

Boating Safety

Lifejackets are always necessary to keep on a boat at all times. 80% of fatalities associated with boating accidents are from drowning. It can happen to any one but children are at the greatest danger.

Learn to Swim

Especially when visiting or living in Florida, learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Teaching children to swim at an early age can help eliminate future dangerous situations.

At home your'e the lifeguard

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1-2. These deaths can happen in a matter of seconds, even in the few moments it takes to answer the door or phone, text or call.

  • Never leave a child alone near a pool
  • Make sure there is no open access from the home and/or backyard to the pool and think about possibly getting a fence.
  • If you have a pool fence already be certain that the fence is locked and secured all the way around.

Understand Beach Warning Flags

Flags posted on the beach and flying fro

m lifeguard towers represent ocean hazards and surf conditions. Please remember that ocean conditions can change quickly. Check with the lifeguard on duty if you are unsure of safe conditions.



Green Flag

Low hazard with the possibility of larger waves and rip currents. Exercise normal care.


Yellow Flag
Medium hazard with moderate rip currents/surf conditions. Use extra care.


Red Flag
High hazard.Dangerous rip currents/surf conditions. Avoid entering the water.



Double-Red Flag
Water and/or beach closed to the public.



Purple Flag
Sea pests present (jellyfish, man-of-wars, and/or sea lice). This flag may be flown along with any of the other flags.


You can learn more about Florida's Beach Warning Flag Program at

For current beach conditions, visit the beach conditions web page or call the Beach Conditions Hotline anytime at 954-828-4597 (updated daily).


Signage has been placed at unguarded areas of the public beach; the public is urged to swim at lifeguard-supervised beaches.
Signage has been placed at unguarded areas of the public beach; the public is urged to swim at lifeguard-supervised beaches.