Beach Safety

Here’s everything you need to know about staying safe on Cape May County’s beautiful beaches!

Warning Flag System

The warning flag system is used to alert swimmers of hazardous areas and keep them safe.

Double Red Flag or Red Flag with ‘No Swimming’ Symbol – This beach boundary flag marks areas on the beach that are not open to bathers. Check with the lifeguards before you enter the water.
Green Flag – This flag indicates calm, low hazard areas with excellent swimming conditions.
Yellow Flag – This flag indicates medium hazard areas to be cautious about due to light surf and/or currents.
Red Flag – This flag indicates dangerous, high hazard areas with rough conditions such as strong surf and/or currents.
Purple Flag – This flag indicates sea pests in the area such as jellyfish, sting rays and other dangerous fish.

Sun Protection

Avoid sun burn, sun poisoning and dehydration with these tips.

• Always apply sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA Rays.
• Use an umbrella when sitting on the beach.
• Stay well hydrated by drinking water.
• Avoid drinking alcohol.
• Avoid strenuous exercise during high temperatures.

Marine Life

Jelly fish are common in our waters in July and August. If you are stung by a jelly fish, a simple solution of half water and half vinegar will neutralize the venom of the sting. If you experience severe pain, hives or difficulty breathing, contact the nearest lifeguard for assistance.

Head, Neck & Back Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are a serious problem in the Shore Break, usually associated with diving head first and hitting the bottom. A spinal cord injury, perhaps more than any other trauma injury, can have severe lifelong consequences for the victim, parents, friends and even rescuers, but most spinal cord injuries are preventable if you follow these tips.

• Check with the lifeguards on current conditions before swimming.
• Swim near a lifeguard.
• Stop and look before walking into the water.
• Don’t dive headfirst into any unknown water.
• Don’t dive toward the bottom into oncoming waves.
• Don’t stand with your back toward the waves.
• Don’t jump or dive from a cliff, pier, jetty or bridge.
• Avoid bodysurfing, bodyboarding or surfing straight “over the falls.” Ride the shoulder.
• In a “wipeout,” land as flat as possible with your hands out in front of you.
• While bodysurfing, keep an arm out in front of you to protect your head and neck.
• When in doubt, don’t dive – play it safe!

Rip Currents

Follow these tips to avoid getting caught in rip currents.

• Never swim alone.
• Always swim at a lifeguard protected beach.
• Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
• Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches.
• If in doubt, don’t go out.

If caught in a rip current, follow these tips.

• Don’t fight the current.
• Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
• Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline, and when out of the current, swim toward the shore.

Information courtesy of the City of Cape May and Cape May Beach Patrol.