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Orange County Beach Safety Info

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Following a few important rules will insure a safe and happy day at one of Orange County’s world-class beaches. Please note that each local beach has its own set of rules and regulations that cover issues such as alcohol, pets, off-limit areas (because of pollution or other reasons), and other restrictions. Visit the lifeguard headquarters at each beach or ask a lifeguard if you have questions.

This information is provided as a service to visitors of the Enlightened Explorer’s Orange County Beaches website. The user assumes full responsibility for his or her own safety at any beach included in this website.

Orange County Beach Safety Guidelines

Learn to swim.

Swim near a lifeguard.

Never swim alone.

Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present.

Don't rely on flotation devices, such as rafts; you may lose them in the water.

If you get caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free — don’t swim against the current’s pull.

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Alcohol and swimming don’t mix.

Protect your head, neck, and spine — don’t dive into unfamiliar waters. Remember, feet first, first time.

If you’re in trouble, call or wave for help.

No glass containers at the beach — broken glass and bare feet don’t mix.

No beach fires except in designated areas. Fire residue and superheated sand can severely burn bare feet. Use a barbeque that is elevated off the sand.

Stay clear of coastal bluffs; they can collapse and injure you.

Never turn your back to the ocean — you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning.

Special Information About Rip Currents

A rip current is a seaward-moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Each wave accumulates water on shore, creating seaward pressure. This pressure is released in an area with the least amount of resistance, which is usually the deepest point along the ocean floor. Rip currents also occur in areas where the strength of the waves is weakened by objects such as rock jetties, piers, natural reefs, and even large groups of bathers. Rip currents often look like muddy rivers flowing away from shore. They are sometimes mistakenly called “rip tides” or “undertows.” These are misnomers. Rip currents are not directly associated with tides and they do not pull people under. Try to avoid swimming where rip currents are present; but if you become caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops, and then swim back to shore. If you are unable to return to the beach, tread water and wave for lifeguard assistance.

Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Rip currents often occur alongside fixed objects in the water. Be aware of ocean conditions.

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