National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Welcome to the NWS Tallahassee, FL Rip Current Safety Page. We are responsible for forecasting weather conditions for areas that include Florida Panhandle beaches from Destin east to St. George Island State Park. This includes the beaches of Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin Counties. In these areas, breaking waves regularly occur which means there is a risk of rip currents! Find out more about this hazard before you head to the beach.

You can significantly reduce the risk to yourself from rip currents by:

  • Knowing The Risk: being familiar with the Florida beach flag system (learn more!).
  • Swimming Near Lifeguards: the U.S. Lifesaving Association estimates the chance of drowning at a beach protected by lifeguards is just 1 in 18 million.
  • Never Swimming Alone: be sure that someone knows where you are in the water, and can spot if there is trouble.
  • Learning How To Swim: you should both know how to swim AND be familiar with how to swim out of a rip current. More information on that below. If you don't know how to swim or are a weaker swimmer, you might want to consider wearing a life jacket.


Current Beach Forecasts


Surf Zone Forecast
We issue a forecast of surf conditions, general rip current risk, UV index, and more on a daily basis. You can find that by clicking on the link above. Remember, always check the beach flags for the rip current risk specific to the beach that you are at!

Observed Conditions and Beach Flags


Safety Brochures

If you choose to print off any of these safety brochures, you may want to select the option to "fit to page" before printing.


Safety Videos and PSAs

Below is a collection of videos with rip current safety information from NOAA and the USLA.





From 2000-2015, more people were killed by rip currents in the state of Florida than all weather-related factors combined. 282 people were killed by rip currents in that time frame; the next closest weather-related killer was lightning (97 fatalities). This underscores the importance of being aware of the threat of rip currents when you visit Florida beaches (or any beach for that matter!), especially if you are unfamiliar with the area or the power of waves at an ocean or Gulf beach. Data from NCDC Storm Events Database.