March 20 Editorial

Whether this is your first time on the beautiful beaches of The Emerald Coast for Spring Break 2014 or you are a true Spring Break Veteran, here are some great tips to help you make the best out of your Spring Break 2014 experience. Everything from general tips and guidelines to making sure that you have all of the safety issues covered, our Spring Break Tips are exactly what you need to know before you hit the beaches.

Don't forget sunscreen-
The sun is almost triple its intensity on the beach due to its reflections off the sand and the water. You can be sure to avoid a nasty burn (and that oh-so-attractive rock lobster look) by slathering on plenty of sunscreen and wear protective gear like your favorite shades to prevent burning sensitive areas. Tanning in short intervals will help promote a more even, longer lasting tan. Not to mention you'll be able to mingle with people without punching them after slapping your back!

Drink responsibly-

This one can be tricky. No one wants to ruin your fun, but none of us locals want a bunch of unruly drunken idiots running around our town either. Having a few drinks can be fun during spring break, but remember.....all things in moderation. Besides, how embarrassing would it be to have to call your parents to bail you out of jail.....or worse...pick you up from the hospital? Do yourself a favor and save the regret. Watch out for them and make sure that they keep any eye on you as well. Acting responsibly will help you enjoy a lifetime of celebrations.

Know basic water safety-

While the beaches usually offer a beautiful and safe experience the overwhelming majority of the time, there are times that they can be very dangerous. Here are some water safety tips to help you on your trip this spring break.

A GREEN flag means that the water is calm. The undertow is slight to non-existent and it is safe to swim using the proper amount of caution!

A YELLOW flag indicates the presence of light surf or currents and additional caution should be used while swimming in the Gulf.

A RED flag indicates the presence of strong surf and currents. Swimming in these conditions is not recommended as it presents a very high hazard to all swimmers.

A DOUBLE RED flag, however, means that the water is closed to the public! No one is allowed in the water when a double red flag is posted!

Finally, a PURPLE flag indicates the presence of marine pest in the water such as jellyfish, stingrays or dangerous fish.

Use common sense, if the waves look dangerous, they probably are. Remember that even small summer thunderstorms can cause local dangerous conditions with the surf. Seek shelter when storm clouds become visible. Avoid the water if you see lightning. Be safe and exhibit caution if you can’t swim or are a beginner.

Respect our home-
Hey, we don’t throw our trash where you live. Don’t throw your garbage in our backyard. While you may just be passing through, remember that there are thousands of people just like you and your loved ones who live here year-round. When you scatter your waste on the roads and beaches or vandalize our facilities, you hurt the locals and contribute to their resentment. Make sure that you leave our area beautiful so its stays that way for the next time you visit.