Everyone rejoices when the green or yellow flags are flying. That means there is less chance of a dangerous rip current. Rip currents are created when the surf is up and the water forced to the beach by the waves escapes back out into the gulf.
The wind creates the waves. When we have yellow and green flags out, it generally means that there is little or no wind coming from the gulf or there are no storms out at sea. Many times it is because the wind is coming from the land to the gulf, an “offshore wind”. When this happens the beach and surf area are in a “wind shadow”. The land and houses block the wind. Once you get out of that shadow, the wind is stronger. And what direction is it heading? Out to sea.
Kayaks are designed to float on the surface of the water with very little resistance. The part of the kayak above the water and the person(s) on the kayak can act as a sail and can easily be pushed by the wind. Paddling a kayak against the wind can be difficult. Don’t let that deceptively calm water fool you. It can take you out to sea in no time.
Here are some other safety tips and laws concerning kayaks:
1. By law, if not close to the beach (surf zone), persons under age six must wear a life jacket. Six and over must have a life jacket with them.
2. By law, you must have a sound producing device (whistle or horn).
3. If you are not able to upright and remount a capsized kayak on your own, do not go into deep water.
Another hazard in calm waters is sting rays. Shuffle your feet when you walk out, this scares them away and does not let you step right on top of them.
Enjoy our beautiful beaches and please be safe.