Atlantic Beach, Fla. – OUCH! Officials encourage beachgoers to use caution while swimming at the beach, as jellyfish have been spotted and stinging people.
Purple Flags fly at Atlantic Beach, warning swimmers of jellyfish and other dangerous marine life. A purple flag means that Man-o-War, jellyfish of any variety, blue buttons, or sea nettles have been spotted.
Beachgoers Andrew Ostrander and Lauren Buberger say their experience at the beach Saturday was awful.
“We didn’t see them at first, but as we got out there and dove into the water, we were just itchy all over. We looked down and hundreds of small jellyfish were out there,” Andrew said.
Lauren Buberger said these jellyfish are smaller than a half-dollar, and that some of them are fingernail sized.
“My whole body was covered in them. My whole body is itchy right now,” Andrew said.
The Ocean Rescue Department uses a colored flag system developed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Management Program to denote ocean conditions each day.
Here is the Jacksonville Beach Flag Rating System:
- Two Red Flags: No water activity is allowed. Lifeguards and local la w enforcement patrol the beach ensuring the safety of everyone.
- One Red Flag: The public is encouraged to stay out of the ocean. Even the strongest swimmers can easily find themselves in dangerous currents. Rip currents are difficult to locate and are created without typical warning signs.
- Yellow Flag: The public is encouraged to only swim in front of posted lifeguard towers. The lifeguards can spot most dangerous rip currents and inform the patrons accordingly. Lifeguard towers are usually posted at locations of safety.
- Green Flag: The public is still encouraged to swim in front of posted lifeguard towers. Strong rip currents are static and can emerge with little warning.
- Purple Flag: (Man-o-War, jellyfish of any variety, blue buttons, sea nettles) These dangerous marine creatures are difficult to spot because they tend to be under the water surface. Caution should be taken while swimming.