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SoWal Staff

Serving the Community!
Staff member
Apr 14, 2006
3,381
399
South Walon, FL
SoWal.com
beach-flags.png

At SoWal.com, we are committed to helping locals and visitors stay safe while enjoying our beautiful beaches. The beach is such a wonderful place to relax. At the beach, life is beautiful and we slip into a state of mind where we feel comfortable, carefree, and secure. That's what a vacation is all about!

Please be AWARE! Gulf waters can be dangerous and it's important to always put safety first. Be aware of the State of Florida beach flag system and receive updates on beach conditions by text or by visiting South Walton Fire District website. For current conditions and flag updates, text "FLAG" to 31279

Lifeguarded beaches are available from mid-March through September, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at regional public beach accesses including Inlet Beach, Santa Clara, Van Ness Butler Jr., Blue Mountain Beach, Gulf View Heights, Ed Walline, Fort Panic, Dune Allen and Miramar Beach. Lifeguards are provided by South Walton Fire District.
See accesses at www.SoWal.com/beach-accesses.

Some links about beach safety in Walton County:

South Walton Beach Rules and Safety Information

Beach Safety Tips - Staying Safe on SoWal Beaches

Visit South Walton TDC Beach Safety

South Walton Fire District Beach Safety Division


Beach safety tips...
Don’t dive in (2/3 of all catastrophic neck/head/spinal injuries happen in open water)
Know before you go…Pay close attention to the flag warning system
Knee deep is too deep on red flag days
The water is closed on double red flag days
Be cautious and swim close to shore. Always exercise caution when entering the gulf.
 
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Teresa

SoWal Guide
Staff member
Nov 15, 2004
28,575
3,923
South Walton, FL
sowal.com
What is the Beach Flag System?

South Walton uses the official flag warning system established by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The flag colors signify surf conditions. If red flag conditions are present, knee deep is too deep, so cooling down is limited to the waters edge. When double red flags are flying, the water is closed for swimming. The purple flag is added when marine pests are present and swimmers should watch out for jellyfish.

Look for the flag and Beach Warning Flags sign at the beach access entrance. Current flag conditions are posted daily at SWFD website. Sign up for beach flag notifications by texting “FLAG” to 67463 to receive regular updates.


Flag Warning System:


  • Double Red Flag: Water is closed to public (dangerous water conditions)
  • Red Flag: High Hazard (high surf and/or strong currents)
  • Yellow Flag: Medium Hazard (moderate surf and/or currents)
  • Green Flag: Low Hazard (calm conditions, exercise caution)
  • Purple Flag: Marine Pests Present (jellyfish, stingrays, dangerous fish)

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In 2005, the State of Florida adopted and enacted into law the Beach Flag Warning System. This is the flag system you see across the Beaches of South Walton. It is extremely important to monitor the beach flag warning system. Dangerous rip currents may exist in the water, but provide no visible indication from shore; i.e. large waves. This is especially true on our 26 miles of beach.

Flag colors are determined by the most dangerous surf or rip conditions within the county's beaches and the appropriate color flag or flags are flown at each beach access. Therefore, the conditions at the beach where you are visiting may appear less dangerous than the beach flags that are flying. The South Walton Beach Safety Division is constantly monitoring the water conditions and weather forecast to provide the most accurate and timely water and surf information possible. Please remember to use caution at all times.


See South Walton Fire District Beach Safety website for current beach conditions and flag updates.
 
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Teresa

SoWal Guide
Staff member
Nov 15, 2004
28,575
3,923
South Walton, FL
sowal.com
South Walton Fire District (SWFD) lifeguards are on duty at designated beach access locations from March through September, from 10am to 6pm.

Go to an Access With a Lifeguard - Click here for a list & map of all Walton County Beach Accesses
By enjoying the beach where lifeguards are present, beachgoers are provided added safety under the watchful eye of a trained professional. Lifeguards are provided by South Walton Fire District and funded as a part of the Visit South Walton Safety Program.
 
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SoWal Staff

Serving the Community!
Staff member
Apr 14, 2006
3,381
399
South Walon, FL
SoWal.com
Leave No Trace is an international program that aims to reduce environmental impacts. Walton County Ordinance 2017-05 supports this program by requiring personal items to be removed from the beach each night. Personal articles that are found abandoned on the beach one hour after dusk until one hour after sunrise will be removed. Leave No Trace is monitored by TDC Beach Code Enforcement of Walton County.

If you have additional questions, please call Beach Code Enforcement at (850) 267‐4578. We appreciate your assistance in keeping the area’s beaches clean and safe for both beachgoers and nesting sea turtles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities.

What is Beach Ordinance No. 2017-05?
Walton County has made progress in promoting and enforcing beach ordinance 2017-05 Section 22-54(g), which states:
Personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to leave an item of personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise, unless a permit has been granted by Walton County.

Why did Walton County enact this ordinance?
The beach ordinance was enacted due to the need for emergency vehicles to navigate the beach more safely year-round and to protect wildlife, such as sea turtles during turtle nesting season which occurs annually from May to November. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission mandate to coastal counties that obstacles on the beach at night be prohibited. This is in effect at other Florida beaches and is being more strictly enforced because of the large decline of turtle nests being recorded.

What is the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) role in the program?
Visit South Walton has been tasked by the Board of County Commissioners to educate visitors and residents about the Leave No Trace Ordinance. Visit South Walton acts as beach ambassadors and stewards of the program and offers information to educate beachgoers on the importance of keeping our sugar-white sand clean, safe and habitable for sea turtle nesting. Community awareness is meant to ensure beachgoers, locals and visitors in general are in compliance with Walton County laws.

What is Code Enforcement’s role in the program?
TDC Beach Code Enforcement will enforce the ordinance and remove the abandoned items.

Can a person recover the items that have been removed?
Any item of personal property which remains on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise, unless a permit has been obtained from the county by the owner or person in possession and control of the item, shall be deemed abandoned and shall become the property of the county which may dispose of the item in accordance with Florida Statutes.

Is there anywhere else beachgoers can place their personal items?
For those who own or are renting beach front property, personal items may be placed in a neat bundle at the toe of the dune.

Can you place items under the beach accesses and walkovers?
No. Any personal items left under or attached to a public beach walkover will be considered abandoned and removed.

Do you need to get a permit for kayaks or larger items?
No. There are no permits for larger items and may be placed neatly at the toe of the dune.

Can you obtain a permit for large items, permanent structures and vendor boxes?
Yes, there is a permit that can be obtained for permanent structures and large items such as sail boats. These requests will be reviewed to ensure that the structure or item does not impact sea turtle nesting and does not supersede any state or federal permits. For more information, contact code enforcement at (850) 267-4578.
 
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Dave Rauschkolb

Beach Fanatic
Jul 13, 2005
1,006
790
Santa Rosa Beach
Walton County Beach Activities ordinance "(Items left on the beach overnight will be discarded. (Ordinance 2013-04 Section 22-54) "Obstructions also include fences, ropes, chains, or signs unless properly permitted by county, state, and federal agencies as appropriate.".
 

southof30A

Beach Lover
Nov 23, 2004
220
12
Walton County Beach Activities ordinance "(Items left on the beach overnight will be discarded. (Ordinance 2013-04 Section 22-54) "Obstructions also include fences, ropes, chains, or signs unless properly permitted by county, state, and federal agencies as appropriate.".
How about Walton Co. start with discarded chairs, beach toys, etc. Many mornings I have watched the Walton Co. truck drive around the junk and never stop. Ordinances are worthless without enforcement.
 

Jenksy

Beach Fanatic
Oct 25, 2012
896
434
How about Walton Co. start with discarded chairs, beach toys, etc. Many mornings I have watched the Walton Co. truck drive around the junk and never stop. Ordinances are worthless without enforcement.
They would need 24 more trucks.
 

Paintmn

Beach Comber
Jun 14, 2018
29
8
Walton county
I have recently retired and have moved to this beautiful area..I have lived at various coastal locations with some quite a bit more populated then here..I am shocked and dismayed by the sheer amount of trash and items left on the beach at the end of the day...i.e. Umbrellas , chairs ,trash, .. So sad !.I pick up what I can but there must be a better way...other locales drag their beaches every morning in am....I know I will hear about costs but obviously other resort areas had same pushback and still figured out a way even if it is only done during prime season. I just don't understand the lack of respect for the wonderful area we live in and I say this to all age because I have seen all ages leave the beaches a mess.
 
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