4th of July beach safety: Here’s what you need to know

Thousands expected at Jacksonville-area beaches to celebrate Independence Day

Thousands of people flocked to Jacksonville-area beaches on Monday to celebrate the Fourth of July.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla – Thousands of people are expected to hit local beaches to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Jacksonville-area beach leaders are encouraging people to follow certain rules to be safe and to be aware of their surroundings both in the water and on land.

If you’re going out in the water to swim or surf, it’s a good idea to do so in the area by the lifeguard’s station.

Also, be mindful of the flags at the beaches for the water.

  • Red flag: There is a high-water hazard and stronger currents with a more dangerous surf.
  • Double red flags: The water is closed to the public.
  • Yellow flag: A medium hazard level and could mean strong currents or rough surf.
  • Purple flag: There is dangerous marine life in the area
  • Green flag: The water is calm and there is a low hazard.

For those going to hang out at Jacksonville Beach, remember no grills, alcohol or fireworks are allowed on the beach because of the large crowds.

If you’re with a group, consider designating someone to be the “water watcher,” which is to keep an eye out on those in the water to make sure they are accounted for and not in danger.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to keep a close eye on small children.

Thousands of people are expected to hit local beaches to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Hannah Towler, who lives in Jacksonville Beach, came out to the shoreline early Monday morning to catch the sunrise with some family members visiting from Michigan.

“Usually like to have people with me so if something happens, there are people who know where I am. I also keep distance from other people, letting people have their space. Then I can have mine, too,” Towler said. “We just plan to be out here for a little while, and then once it starts getting too busy, we will go back to the pool. Just the crowds — It is really busy, and I like having space.”

The Davis family was also among those at Jacksonville Beach before 7 a.m. to watch the sunrise. Some members of the family were visiting from Michigan, as well.

“We wanted to see the sunrise, which is beautiful. We are enjoying it,” said Linda Davis, who was visiting from Michigan. “Not in Michigan, so we love it.”

“It’s nice to see the sunrise,” said Curtis Davis, who was visiting from Michigan. “I am 55 years old, and this is a first.”

And Travell Davis, who lives in Jacksonville Beach, shared a message for fellow beachgoers.

“Just come out here and be smart about things,” he said. “Just follow the suggestions.”

Jacksonville Beach visit Alvin Harvey also hit the beach early in the morning.

“It is going to be packed. The streets are going to be blocked off,” Harvey said. “So that’s why I wanted to get here early, get my walk on, get my pray on.”

With the summer in full swing and the Fourth of July approaching, big crowds are expected to takeover beaches.

And with thousands of people hitting the sand and surf, that means extra lifeguards, police and firefighters.

PREVIOUS STORY: First responders preparing for packed Jacksonville-area beaches over July 4th weekend

Later in the day, a fireworks show is scheduled at 9 p.m. from the Jacksonville Beach Pier. There will be no beach access between Third Avenue North and Fifth Avenue North due to the fireworks show. That area is considered a public safety zone.

RELATED: Jacksonville Beach 4th of July fireworks: Here’s what you need to know | Fireworks scheduled throughout Jacksonville area to celebrate July 4th

Traffic — both pedestrians and vehicles — will be heavy, according to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, so that means, starting at 5 p.m., some roads to be closed or blocked.

Road closures:

  • State Road A1A will have several turning lanes blocked to aid in the northern and southern flow of traffic.
  • Beach Boulevard will have limitations at different intersections to aid in the westerly flow of traffic.
  • Pedestrians are strongly encouraged to only cross at properly marked pedestrian crossings.
  • The main travel route for northbound and southbound traffic along the three beach communities will be A1A. A secondary route will be Penman Road to Florida Boulevard and then to Mayport Road.
  • The main travel routes westbound will be J. Turner Butler, Beach and Atlantic boulevards. A secondary route for westbound traffic will be Wonderwood Drive.

About the Author: