Gulf Islands National Seashore offers many miles of shoreline for swimming and wading in the Gulf of Mexico and other bodies of water. During the summer season (mid-May through August) lifeguards may be on duty at Opal Beach in the Santa Rosa Area, Langdon Beach in the Fort Pickens Area, Johnson Beach in the Perdido Key Area, and the designated swim beach on the south shore of West Ship Island. In other areas and at times when lifeguards are not present swim at your own risk.
- Never swim alone, use the buddy system
- Know your abilities and limitations
- Get weather reports and rip current conditions
- No diving sandbars are prevalent in the area
- Parents should always watch children in the water
- Swim near lifeguard stands and ensure lifeguard is on duty
- If in trouble call out or wave arms for assistance
- Follow all lifeguard directions
- Link to water safety information from the Red Cross.
- Link to Water Safety Tips from National Water Safety Month.
Florida Beach Warning Flags:
In the park's Florida areas, beach warning flags are displayed at entrance stations and at many beach access points. Link to today's flag report.
- Red over Red (two flags flying): Water closed to the public.
- Red: High hazard, high surf and/or strong currents.
- Yellow: Medium hazard, moderate surf and/or currents.
- Green: Low hazard, calm conditions, exercise caution.
- Purple: Dangerous marine life.