OC Lifeguards uses different flags posted on the beach and flying from the lifeguard towers to represent ocean hazards and surf conditions, and to designate appropriate and safe areas for swimming, surfing, and other recreational activities. Advisement flags are designed to raise awareness about the hazards the ocean presents on a specific day. It is important to remember, however, that the ocean can be hazardous on any given day and should never be assumed completely safe. Ocean conditions are unpredictable and can go from mild to extreme in a short period of time. Always check with the lifeguard on duty if you are unsure of the ocean conditions.

  Green Flag   Mild ocean hazards with possibility of occasional larger waves and rip currents
  Yellow Flag   Moderate ocean hazards with frequent large waves and rip currents. Should be an experienced swimmer or surfer with proper equipment to enter into the surf zone
  Red Flag   Extremely hazardous ocean conditions with large powerful waves and strong rip currents. Only expert swimmers and surfers with proper equipment should enter the water
OC Lifeguards uses a green, yellow, and red flag system to inform beach goers of current ocean and surf conditions. The following are guidelines for interpreting the flag colors:

OC Lifeguards also uses black ball, orange, and green flags to designate safe areas for swimming, body boarding, surfing, and skim boarding. These flags can vary at each beach on any given day depending on the local conditions and regulations. You can get more specific information about local beach hazards and surf/swim areas in our Beach Information (link to) section of the website.