Florida Beach Flag Warning System

by June 27, 2012 • 2 comments

Panama City Beach is known as having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  And if you’ve done some traveling, you know this to be true.  Emerald green waters, crystal white sand and normally calm waters draw people here from all over the country.

However, when dealing with mother nature, water conditions can change quickly and create rough conditions fast.  Undertow, rip currents and large waves all pose a threat to our safety and unfortunately many lives have been lost to compromising surf conditions.

The Uniform Flag Warning System was standardized in 2005 by the Florida Legislature to enact a standard system that was consistent in all of Florida’s beaches.  Knowing that tourists often go to a variety of beaches in Florida throughout the year, a system that was the same everywhere was necessary to avoid confusion.

The flags and their meanings.

Double Red Flag: Water Closed to Public

A double red flag indicates water and surf conditions that are unsafe for the public.  When double red flags fly, water entry access is closed and is enforces by local law enforcement.

These conditions often include rip currents, strong undertow and heavy and choppy surf that is life threatening.  However, the presence of a double red flag doesn’t specifically indicate any or all of the above conditions, it just stipulates that the waters are closed.

Single Red Flag: High Hazard

When a single red flag is flying, it is advised that the public does not enter the water but does so at their own risk.  Single red flag conditions include high surf and/or strong currents

Yellow Flag: Medium Hazard

Yellow flags flying indicates moderate surf and/or currents and that the water should be entered with caution.  Usually during yellow flag conditions it is considered safe to enter the waters, but like always, you’re encouraged to be safe.

Green Flag: Low Hazard

Green flags indicate calm conditions.  The water is usually flat during green flag conditions.  I liken green flag conditions to swimming in one great big, salty swimming pool.

Purple Flag: Dangerous Marine Life

Dangerous marine life can range from jelly fish to sharks and all varieties in between.  I’ve only seen that flag flown a couple times here but have read it’s flown regularly in south Florida.

Warnings everywhere.

The State of Florida and local tourism officials circulate beach flag warning signs and have them posted at public beach access points.  The sign graphic is publicly available for hospitality partners to use to warn their guests and the sign magnets can be found all over the place.

With Panama City Beach Luxury Properties, we had our own magnets designed and placed in our condos.

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1 Cathy June 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

I am happy to say that each of the condo’s I have every rented this is posted in a photo frame of some type on the kitchen counter area. If not, I email the owner and request it. Everyone coming to the beach should be aware of the meanings and follow them, it will only keep you & your loved ones safe!



2 Landon Terry December 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

Where can I get a fridge magnet that has all of the warning flags on it? Thanks, Landon