There are plenty of things to learn about surfing in San Diego. It isn’t as simple as grabbing a board and hitting the water. Plenty of tragedies happen every year because people don’t keep key safety tips in mind when they’re out on the water. Here are our top beach safety tips in San Diego for surfing and swimming in San Diego.
Learn the Flags
Lifeguards use colored flags to indicate water safety—learn them! Black ball flag (yellow with a black ball in the center) means you can’t surf. A checkered flag means that there’s a boundary separating surfing and swimming. A red flag means there is no swimming due to safety concerns such as rip tides. A very important part of beach safety tips in San Diego is learning the flags.
Check the Surf
You should always check the surf before you enjoy the beach. There are several ways to check the surf report first. Ask our staff, check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, or browse websites like Surfline to get reports on the water. It’s an important step to staying safe and catching great waves. Another important part of beach safety tips in San Diego is to check the surf.
Don’t Go Out Alone
Most importantly, always remember that waves are unpredictable. Conditions can change very quickly, so don’t swim alone or without checking the weather and surf reporters.
Be Wary of Rip Currents
Another part of this San Diego beach safety guide is rip currents. A rip current is a fast-moving strip of water that pulls water back out to see after its broken on a shore. These rip currents can be deadly, as they can suck you out to sea. Most people don’t know how to spot them. Look for darker patches or strips of water. Sometimes rip currents circulate themselves back toward the shore, flowing in a U-like shape. Other signs of a current are patches of murky or sandy water. Watch the water before going in. If you are caught in a rip current, don’t panic. Swim parallel to the shore you’re out of the rip current and swim diagonally toward the shore.
Wear a Wetsuit
Water temperatures can be deceiving. A day that is bright and sunny outside doesn’t guarantee warm waters. The ocean is deep and vast, which means it’s also cold. If the water is too cold for bare skin, and you’re swimming in it for long enough, your muscles begin to cramp, hampering your ability to swim and therefore rescue yourself. Wetsuits keep you warm and add buoyancy.
Watch Out for Inshore Holes
Inshore holes are holes in the sand that run parallel to the shoreline. Some are so deep they can fit a fully-grown adult. They are often filled with rocks and pebbles, making it more painful to fall into. Watch out for the holes, especially if you have children with you.