July 7, 2023
Sweet summertime! Think long, lazy beach days with the sounds of the surf in your ears, a good book, and seagulls laughing in the distance. Ahhh. This is what Amelia Island in the summer is all about.
Whether jumping waves, body surfing, swimming, sunning or hunting for seashells, here are a few tips to make sure your beach visit is as safe and fun as possible. See you on the beach!
The Florida sun is no joke. ALWAYS wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a head cover of some sort to protect you from the harmful UV rays and an ultimately painful sunburn. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming, especially if you’re making a day of it. In addition to sunscreen, stay hydrated! That means drink water, water and more water! Dehydration is a real threat that can sneak up on you in the hot summer sun.
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that if caught in, will try and pull a swimmer out past the breakers. Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by trying to swim back to shore—putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue. If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle. This will take you out of the current and danger. If you are unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and yelling for help.
As a peninsula surrounded by water, Florida always sees weather disturbances. The heat, humidity, and winds create the perfect conditions for thunderstorms. Before heading out to the beach, pay special attention to any weather reports so you won’t get caught in a downpour. Afternoon pop-up showers happen frequently so if you hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water and off of the beach until the storm passes.
Jellyfish are those alien looking sea creatures with dome-like bodies and long tenticles that can sting! They are found on all coastlines of Florida. Some are dangerous and cause serious complications but many are harmless and maintain the delicate balance of aquatic life. The Moon and Cannonball (pictured above) Jellyfish are very common to northeast Florida waters and their sting is realtively mild in comparison to the Portuguese man-of-war or deadly Box Jelly. The most important thing to know if you get stung by a jelly is to get out of the water immediately and soak the area in hot water until the sting dissipates.
Whenever you’re in the water, always swim with a buddy, even if there is a lifeguard. Strong currents (riptides) make swimming alone in the ocean especially dangerous. Strong waves can also knock you down and keep you submerged for a long time. Always use the buddy system when you’re in the ocean.
The best way to stay safe while swimming at the beach is to swim near a lifeguard. Lifeguards are trained to spot and rescue struggling swimmers in the water. They’re also trained in lifesaving techniques and first-aid. Choose an area of the beach with a stationed lifeguard. Click here and here for the location of lifeguard stations in the City of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County.
Digging in the sand is one of the essential summer pleasures, but, when you’re done, please fill them in. Not only because nesting mother turtles and their hatchlings can fall in and become trapped, but other beachgoers can also take a tumble. We’ll give you extra good deed points for filling in holes you come across at the end of the afternoon (Perhaps make this a contest for the kids while you pack up?
Pay special attention to the flags flying from the lifeguard stand. These beach warning flags are universal and will let you know quickly what the surf conditions are like: Double Red = Water closed to public useRed = High hazard (high surf and strong current), Swimming is allow but may be limitedYellow = Caution, Medium Hazard (Moderate Surf and Current)Green = Safe to Swim (calm conditions)Purple = Presence of dangerous marine life (jellyfish, sting ray, dangerous fishes).
We want you and your loved ones to have only the best memories of your time on Amelia Island’s beaches… so get out there, play it safe, and enjoy our 13 miles of pristine coastline this summer!
Click here for current weather, surf, public safety alerts, and beach conditions.
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