Rip Currents account for 95% of the Manatee County Rescues. Here are the facts about how to get out of a Rip Current:
Most rip currents along Anna Maria Island are about 10 - 20 yards wide and 50 yards long
The further you get dragged away from shore the weaker the rip current
If the ocean conditions are rough, there is most likely a strong rip current, if the ocean is calm, there are usually none
Once the current weakens it is safe to swim parallel to the beach first for about 15 yards, then swim directly towards shore (see poster below)
Always swim at a Lifeguarded beach, Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach have lifeguard stations
There is a flag on each lifeguard station that tells you the surf conditions
Know your limits and those of your family
Parents should ALWAYS be nearby their children in the water
Warning Flag System
This "Warning Flag System" is in place on our lifeguard towers at Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach. With a quick glance at a lifeguard stand, beachgoers are able to keep abreast of existing water conditions and know that the guards will monitor conditions and will change the flags throughout the day in order to keep patrons informed.
Florida’s beach warning flag program uses flags in four colours accompanied by interpretive signs along the beach to explain the meaning of each colour.
Diver Down Flag
The Diver Down Flag indicates divers in the water. Boaters in the vicinity of another vessel displaying the diver down flag or a red Diver Down Buoy, must give 100' clearance inshore or 300' clearance in the open waters, or drop to idle speed within these distances.
Please use caution when boating in the Anna Maria Island area as there are several wrecks that are popular with divers and snorkellers.
definition beach flag credit: