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Top 3 Ways to Stay Safe at the Beach - What you need to know

For more than 30 years, we’ve enjoyed welcoming families to the beach to enjoy a beach vacation. From mountain getaways to beach escapes, there are inherent risks that are present when enjoying a natural setting while on vacation. As such, it is our goal that every guest enjoys a joyful and safe vacation together. 

Here are some important beach safety tips that will help ensure your beach vacation is spectacular and safe.



Our soft white sand beaches are located along the Gulf of Mexico, which is home to lots of marine life. At times, the surf is rough and can create dangerous conditions and rip currents. When entering the Gulf, you should always know before you go. Know the flag color that is flying. While you should always use caution when entering the Gulf, red flag means surf is rough and dangerous rip currents are forming along the coast. Knee Deep is Too Deep. Double red flag means the water is closed for swimming and beachgoers are required to stay on shore or risk being fined. Learn more about escaping a rip current. 

Click here for a link to current conditions.



Water quality tests are conducted each week by the Florida Department of Health. It is important to note that ANY water body of water can have harmful bacteria, including lakes, streams and the Gulf of Mexico. One type of bacteria is necrotizing fasciitis (aka a flesh eating virus). Necrotizing Fasciitis is caused by more than one type of bacteria. Several bacteria, common in our environment can cause this condition – the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis  is Group A Strep. People do not “catch” necrotizing fasciitis; it is a complication or symptom of a bacterial infection that has not been promptly or properly treated. 

Visitors to our beaches should know that several agencies constantly monitor of our beach water.  The Florida Health Department conducts water quality testing every Monday and posts the results mid-week.  This is testing to determine the amount of bacteria in the water.  Water quality changes daily depending on current conditions, including tides, rainfall, etc.  The bacteria most often seen in our waters is Enterococci. This bacteria is often present in low doses along our shores and the risk of this bacteria causing serious illness is minimal. 

There have been no advisories issued this summer for Okaloosa or Walton County Gulf beaches for enterococci or necrotizing fasciitis.     

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission monitors area waters for Red Tide, which is a naturally occurring algae bloom, karenia brevis.  

In Northwest Florida, karenia brevis has not been observed.


- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
CDC) encourages all people to avoid open  bodies of water (such as the Gulf), pools and hot tubs with breaks in the skin. (These can include cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, puncture wounds, or surgical wounds.)

- The Florida Department of Health and the CDC encourage good wound care, as the best way to prevent any bacterial skin infection. Keep open wounds covered with clean, dry bandages until healed and don't delay first aid of even minor, non-infected wounds like blisters, scrapes or any break in the skin.
- If you do develop signs of infection, seek medical treatment immediately (Visit a local walk-in clinic or Sacred Heart Hospital if Report redness, swelling, fever, severe pain in area of red or swollen skin near or around a

View this fact sheet for more Information about NECROTIZING FASCIITIS or call public information at 850-344-0566


- Always keep an eye on children, especially when in the water 

- Don’t dive head first into the Gulf of Mexico, the Choctawhatchee Bay or any pool without knowing the depth (The gulf and bay can be very shallow)

- Always know surf conditions before entering the water

- If you see lightning, get out of any body of water and leave the beach (Do not go back out onto the beach until at least 1/2 hour after the last thunder is heard. The most deaths from lightning occur either 1/2 hour before the storm arrives or 1/2 hour after it passes).

- Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water)

- Reapply sunscreen throughout the day (fair skin burns quickly in the Florida sun)

- Always swim with a partner; there is safety in numbers

- Follow the wind to find lost kids

- Look but do not touch injured or stranded animals (Report injured animals to Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission online or call 888-404-3922 or cellular phone users can call *FWC or #FWC or text to [email protected]



The Gulf of Mexico is home to many species, including sea turtles, rays, sharks and fish of all kinds. Swimmers can stay safe and co-exist with our marine animals by adoping the following safety tips:  

- When swimming in the gulf, be aware of your surroundings and swim within the second sandbar (Use a kayak or paddle board for deeper water)

- If a shark is sighted, stay calm. Most sharks are merely curious and will leave on their own accord. However, if a shark is showing signs of aggression leave the water.

- Always stay in groups; sharks and other marine life are more likely to engage with a solitary individual.
- Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours when sharks and other marine life are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage.
- Do not enter the water if bleeding--- a shark's olfactory ability is acute.
- Wearing shiny jewelry is discouraged because the reflected light resembles the sheen of fish scales.
- Look but don't touch. It is important avoid direct contact with any animal or marine life. Call FWC (contact info above) to report injured or stranded animals.
The team at Newman-Dailey Resort Properties cares about our guests safety and want every guest to leave safe and with special memories that last a lifetime. 
When your ready to book your next South Walton or Destin vacation, view our collection of Destin vacation rentals online or call one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-225-7652 to help with your search. 


See you @ the beach!


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Published by Tracy Louthain
Friday, June 28, 2019