Compliments of the City of Oceanside Beaches, Parks, and Rec. Dept.

Safety Tips

The beach can be a safe and enjoyable place by simply following these ocean safety guidelines:

  • It is a good idea to familiarize oneself with surf/ocean conditions by calling our surf/weather information recording, or asking a lifeguard, and observe the surf warning flags on active lifeguard towers:
    • Green: Generally safe
    • Yellow: Use caution
    • Red: Dangerous
  • Keep in mind that ocean conditions can vary and change quickly from one location to another.
  • Remember that rip currents cause 95% of all rescues. Be able to identify rip currents and learn how to get out of them by swimming parallel to the shore.
  • Use swim fins. You can swim safer, faster, and catch waves more easily. If fish use them, why can’t we?
  • Swim and board surf in designated areas.
  • Avoid diving head first into water or allow your head to be driven down to the bottom. This can cause paralysis, spinal injury, or even death!
  • Attention Parents! Keep an eye out for inshore holes. Water that is waist deep for you may be over your child’s head.


Rip currents are the most common hazards found at the beach. Mistakenly called “undertow” or “rip tides”, they form when water pushed shoreward by waves rapidly returns seaward by way of a river-like current. They can be identified by looking for the dirty, sometimes foamy, water moving seaward through the waves. To get out of one, stay calm and swim parallel to shore until you are out of the flowing current (usually about 50 yards).