Safety Tips for Summer Beach Bliss in Gulf Shores

Summer is rolling quickly into Gulf Shores, and you know what that means: it’s almost beach season! As you pack your bags for a sun-soaked escape to The Beach Club Resort & Spa, let’s talk about the key ingredient to a perfect summer beach session: safety. The Gulf of Mexico offers breathtaking views and thrilling waters, but it’s also as unpredictable as a sandcastle in a summer storm. To ensure your vacation memories are filled with nothing but laughter and leisure, it’s crucial to keep safety in your beach bag right next to your sunglasses and flip-flops. After all, the best beach days are those that end with sunsets, not sunburns–or, heaven forbid, a trip to the ER. So, let’s dive into some essential tips that will keep you safe and allow you to enjoy every moment of your beach escape without worry.

1. Don’t Skip the Sunscreen

While sun tanning may make you feel like a bronzed god or goddess, skin safety takes the crown. Remember, we don’t mean “soak in the sun” literally! Protect your youthful glow from harmful UV rays to reduce the risk of sunburn and cancer. Make sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher a beach day staple – apply a generous amount 15 minutes before hitting the beach and reapply every two hours, or after a dip in the Gulf—whichever comes first!

2. Stay Hydrated

Sipping on something cool isn’t just for the poolside. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially under the scorching Alabama Gulf Coast sun. Keep a water bottle handy and take hydration breaks often, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine, which can cause dehydration.

3. Seek Shade – Especially at High Noon

The summer sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm, otherwise known as “peak heat hours”. If you’re sensitive to heat, take a shaded break during this time to relax and refuel somewhere cool. Our beach umbrellas are perfect for a mid-day siesta or catching up on that summer beach read!

Symptoms of heat stroke include a fever over 103, a racing heart, flushed skin, nausea and vomiting. If you suspect heat stroke, seek a cool area and call 911 immediately.

4. BEach SAFE: Know Before You Go

Beach and surf conditions change daily, and even the sunniest days can have hidden surprises. That’s why it’s so important to know the current beach conditions before you sink those toes in the sand! BEach SAFE, a county-wide campaign created in 2022 to spread awareness about beach safety, makes staying informed a breeze with easy access to the daily beach report, general safety tips and other resources.

  • Check beach, weather, and surf conditions daily.
  • Know and heed the Beach Warning Flags.

Yellow:
Moderate Hazard, use caution

Red:
High Hazard, swimming is not advised.

Double Red:
Water Closed to Public, no swimming.

Purple:
Dangerous marine life is present.

  • Note the seasonal lifeguard locations (March – September).
  • Learn how to spot and escape rip currents safely.

To learn more, visit our blog on Beach Safety in Gulf Shores.

5. Swim Safely

The Gulf is inviting, but respect is key. Remember, swimming in the Gulf is much different than swimming in a pool. Know your limitations, stick close to shore, and never swim alone.

  • If you aren’t an experienced swimmer, don’t go in the water.
  • If you do go in, keep your head above water and stay in sight of the shore at all times.
  • Watch children closely, even in shallow water.
  • Avoid swimming near piers, pilings, and platforms. Do not swim in areas being used for fishing.
  • Be extra cautious when the water is murky – sharks, fish and jellies call our beaches home, too!

6. Listen for Thunder

As the locals say, “when thunder roars, go indoors.” Lightning often strikes miles outside of a visible storm, especially here on the Gulf Coast. Summer thunderstorms are frequent and fast-moving, and you don’t want to be caught unaware near the water. If you hear thunder, seek shelter indoors until 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble. (Here are some ideas to help you keep the fun going during inclement weather in Gulf Shores.)

With these tips, you’re all set for a safe summer beach trip in Gulf Shores. Book your stay at The Beach Club Resort & Spa to hang your towel just steps from our stretch of pristine, private beaches and rolling blue surf. Don’t forget your sense of adventure and your favorite beach pun – we’ll sea you soon!

Beach Safe: Tips to Play it Safely in Gulf Shores

Relaxation is the name of the game on Alabama’s beautiful beaches, and we want all of our Gulf Shores visitors to unwind and let loose with some fun in the sun at The Beach Club. But as we encourage you to cast your worries aside, it’s important that safety doesn’t also reach the back-burner.

Check the Daily Beach Report

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach make it easy to check the current conditions with a daily beach report that covers everything from surf conditions and water temperatures to wind speeds and more. You can access the daily report online or by calling 251-968-SURF (7873). You can also text ‘ALBEACHES’ to 888-777 to receive daily reports for the duration of your trip.

Follow the Beach Flags

Our beaches have adopted a flag warning system to keep you informed of surf conditions on the coast. The flags are posted at all public beaches and at many condominiums along the coast. The system follows a basic traffic light format so it’s easy to remember:

  • Green: Good Conditions, Low Hazard
  • Yellow: Moderate Hazard, Use Caution
  • Red: High Hazard, Swimming Not Advised
  • Double Red Flags: Water Closed to Public
  • Purple: Dangerous Marine Life is Present

Be advised that the flag warning system doesn’t guarantee safe water conditions, and you should always exercise caution when entering and swimming in the Gulf. Also note that it is illegal to enter the water within city limits when a double red flag is displayed.

Know the Lifeguard Locations

The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach provide seasonal lifeguard services during the months of March and September. Lifeguards are posted at all public beaches during this time, and swimmers are encouraged to stay in the protected areas when lifeguards are present. Be aware of the local lifeguard locations and plan your swim accordingly, especially if you aren’t a strong swimmer. Even popular resorts like The Beach Club and Turquoise Place do not have designated lifeguards on-duty.

Beware of Rip Currents

A rip current is a narrow channel of fast-moving water that flows away from the beach with powerful force. They are common in our area and can be hard to spot from the shore. Unsuspecting swimmers can get caught in a rip current and swept outwards with surprising speed. While this isn’t inherently dangerous, swimmers who struggle against the current are quickly fatigued and can succumb to drowning.

To stay safe while swimming, learn how to spot a rip current and try to avoid hazardous surf conditions. If you do get caught in a rip current, don’t struggle – remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current.