Printer Friendly VersionOCEAN RESCUE
Ocean Rescue Headquarters

mbpatrolThe Ocean Rescue Headquarters is located at 1001 Ocean Drive in the heart of the City's Art Deco District. We have three sub-stations located at South Pointe Park, 53 Street and Collins Avenue and 79 Street and Collins Avenue.

Mission Statement

"We are committed to providing excellent public service and safety to all who live, work and play in our vibrant, tropical, historic community."

Motto: Swim near a Lifeguard 

Significant Prior Accomplishments
  • Guarded over 11.3 million beach visitors in 2015
  • Rescued 788 victims from ocean related incidents in 2015
  • Performed 217,367 Preventative Actions in 2015
  • Added 6 additional Lifeguard Towers located at 4, 24, 43 50, 57 and 67 street
  • Implemented Weatherbug Lightening and severe weather advance notification
  • Established weather hotline for daily beach conditions

Statewide Beach Warning Flag System

The following information is posted on all lifeguard towers:

Warning Flags
br_flag4 Red with a line crossing out a swimmer: Water Closed to Public , Agua Cerrada al Publico
br_flag6 Red: High Hazard – High Surf and/or Strong Currents , Peligro Alto, Resaca Alta y/o Corrientes Fuertes
br_flag1 Yellow: Medium Hazard – Moderate Surf and/or Currents , Peligro Medio Resaca Moderada y/o Corrientes Fuertes
br_flag2 Green: Low Hazard – Calm Conditions, Exercise Caution , Peligro Bajo, Condiciones Calmas, Tenga Cuidado
br_flag-5 Purple: Dangerous Marine Life , Vida Marina Peligrosa

Note: We will continue to use our pictured banners to enhance the Statewide flags. The flags will be flown when lifeguards are on duty. Absence of Flags Does Not Assure Safe Waters

Guarded beaches on Miami Beach - PHOTO GALLERY

We have 35 lifeguard stations which are supported by Lieutenant personnel in four-wheel drive vehicles. Additional support is provided by all-terrain cycles, a twenty-seven foot rescue vessel, and other smaller jet-driven watercraft. All personnel are in contact with each other by radio transmitters which have the capability of communicating with the City's Police and Fire/Rescue departments.

Rip Currents

tweatherQ. What is a "Rip Current?"

A rip current is a seaward stream. It is caused by an excessive amount of water that has come inside a sand bar over which waves have broken toward the shore. This accumulation of water becomes higher than sea level and flows seaward through deeper areas of the sandbar where waves are not breaking ashore.

Rip currents are visible from shore. There are several "signs" that they exist. Look for the following indicators to determine their location:triptideSandy-colored areas. This indicates that a rip current is forming by 'washing-out' sand from the bottom as the water flows seaward. Dark-colored water. This defines the deeper areas. Slots of darker water indicate where rip currents have already formed. A line of seaweed, foam, and/or debris extending seaward. You are witnessing items brought over the sandbar with the waves washing back out to sea with the rip current. An area of confusing waves. This choppy area resembles the surface water inside a washing machine. Rip currents are not always easily discernible to the untrained eye. An experienced ocean lifeguard with an elevated vantage point, will know where the rip currents exist. This helps them direct bathers away from these dangerous areas. Always swim in a guarded area.

Q. When is it conducive for rip currents to exist on beaches? 

triptid1 Anytime waves are "breaking" toward shore, that volume of water must flow back out to sea by gravity. A "breaking wave" is a wave in which water (white in appearance) is physically moving toward shore. It is caused by water spilling or plunging down the wave faces. A "swell" on the other hand, is only a wave energy form; that is, water moving on a vertical plane (up & down) rather than forward. A swell may become a breaking wave when it reaches sufficiently shallow waters.

Most waves are formed from the force of wind against the water. Sometimes waves travel thousands of miles across open seas from storms. Usually, however, local winds cause waves at our shores. Therefore, one may expect rip currents on days with strong onshore winds.

Q. How would some one caught in a rip current free himself? 

Rip currents may become strong enough to pull the best of swimmers out to sea. The best method of escape would be to swim sideways from the pull of the current, then swim to shore and allow the waves to push you towards the shore. It is important to move a considerable distance from the rip current so as not to be fed back into it from the lateral (parallel to shore) current.

Even with this knowledge, it may not be as simple as it sounds. For your own safety, it's best to swim near a lifeguard stand.

National Weather Service - Rip Current Safety
United States Lifesaving Association 

For comments, questions or more information, please contact Ocean Rescue, City of Miami Beach, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 31339. Telephone 305.673.7714