Beach Flag Warnings and What They Mean

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Beach Flag Warnings and What They Mean

If your visit with us in Myrtle Beach will be your first time experiencing the beach, it’s important for you to know the beach flag warnings and what they mean. This will ensure you have a safe and fun vacation here with us.


About the Beach Flag Warning System

Beach flags are usually found on a flagpole near a lifeguard stand or station. Flags fly every day to show visitors to the beach what the conditions are and if there is any risk or hazard to be aware of. It is possible to have more than one flag flying concurrently depending on the conditions present including wave height, rip tides and marine life in the area. Beaches in South Carolina follow the International Lifesaving Federation Beach Safety System to make it easier for guests to our beaches from all over the world understand the beach flag warning system.


Beach Flag Colors and Their Meanings

Here is the list of the beach flag colors and what each one means.

  • Green – A green flag means the waters are fairly calm, hazards are low and swimming is allowed (though always exercise caution when swimming in any body of water, including the ocean).
  • Yellow – A yellow flag indicates moderate waves, medium hazard level and swimming still allowed with caution.
  • Red – A red flag means there are dangerous waves, increased risk of rip tides, high hazard level and no swimming.
  • Double Red – A double red flag means the water is closed to the public. This can be due to dangerous conditions in the water or contaminant run-off after major storms or other life-threatening conditions.
  • Blue or Purple – A blue or purple flag indicates that potentially dangerous marine wildlife is in the area. This could include jellyfish, stingrays, Portuguese Man O’ War, dangerous algae and of course, sharks. A blue or purple flag generally means swimming is not recommended and could be dangerous until the marine wildlife moves on from the area. This flag can be combined with any of the options above to provide more information about the types of hazards in the water at a given time.

We want you to have a safe and fun time with us during your visit to Myrtle Beach. If you have any questions about the colored flag warning system and the flags displayed, make sure to ask a lifeguard for more information to ensure it’s safe to be in the water.