For Your Safety: Use Caution In and Around the Water

Lifeguards on duty in stands, under red umbrellas, and on chin-up bar at Sailors Haven beach.
Swimming in the ocean surf is fun, but can be dangerous. Follow these simple tips to improve your safety and have a more enjoyable time on Fire Island's pristine beaches.

Fire Island National Seashore lifeguards are on duty daily during the summer months at Sailors Haven and Watch Hill. Some of the communities within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore have lifeguarded beaches. Designated sections of the beach within Robert Moses State Park and Smith Point County Park are also guarded. Lifeguards adjust the size of the protected swim areas according to the conditions of the day. Swimming is not permitted in fishing areas, marinas, or near boat traffic. Surfing, fishing, and pets are not permitted within the designated swim beach area.

You may swim at most other locations, but be advised that swimming is at your own risk, and you should be respectful of other people's recreational rights. We strongly recommend that you always swim at a guarded beach, where properly trained lifeguards also watch for rip currents, lateral currents, large storm surf, undertow and other hazards in the water. You should never swim alone.

Sea creatures you may encounter include seasonal stinging jellyfish and sea lice, pinching crabs, and occasional schools of fish that can bite, like the bluefish. Shark sightings are very rare, but they do live in the ocean and bay.

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Fishhook on sand.
Always be alert for hazards washing ashore. A large amount of debris was deposited on the beach and in washovers during the Nor'easter of April 2007.

Wading or Walking
Use caution as you're walking along the shoreline or in the surf zone. You may wish to wear water shoes to protect your feet from broken shells or other submerged hazards in or near the water. You should stay clear of any marine mammals that are stranded on the beach; never touch them.

Lifeguards clean the guarded beach on a daily basis during the summer, but debris may wash up or become uncovered during the night.

Park ranger in marked vessel talks to man standing in small open boat on calm bay.
National Park Service rangers conduct safety checks in the Great South Bay and Fire Island National Seashore marinas.

When in or on a boat, you should always wear a properly-fitted, U. S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device or PFD (life jacket). Children ages 12 and under are required by law to wear a PFD while boating, and we recommend that children wear a PFD while on the dock or along the water.

Remember that no wake is allowed in the marinas.

Storm clouds over island.
Do you know what to do when you see clouds like this?

Watch for rapid changes in weather conditions; storms can travel quickly across the water. If there is lightning, get out of the water and avoid open areas, tall trees and metal poles. Stay inside a building if possible. If you are outdoors and no shelter is available, find a low ravine—but not a marsh or bog area—and crouch down to avoid lightning.

Last updated: May 30, 2014

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120 Laurel Street
Patchogue, NY 11772


(631) 687-4750

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