• 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. A sub-headquarters is maintained at the north end of Miami Beach at the historic site of the "House of Refuge" established in 1876 intended for ship wreck victims at what is now 72nd Street.

    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: Be prepared

    Significant Prior Accomplishments
    • Guarded over 13.8 million beach visitors 
    • Rescued 313 victims from drowning 
    • Performed 365,103 Preventative Actions 
    • Replaced 18 damaged lifeguard tower 
    • Staffed three new lifeguard towers at 5th street, Lincoln Road and 18th street 
    • Implemented Weatherbug Lightening and severe weather advance notification 

    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

    The Ocean Rescue currently guards twenty-five (25) locations. They are located at the Jetty Beach, South Point Park, 1st Street, 3rd Street, 5th Street, 6th Street, 8th Street, 10th Street, 12th Street, 13th Street, 14th Street, 15th Street, Lincoln Rd, 17th Street, 18th Street, 21st Street, 29th Street, 35th Street, 46th Street, 53rd Street, 64th Street, 72nd Street, 74th Street, 77th Street, 79th Street, 81st Street, 83rd Street and 85th Street. 

    These stations 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 shoreward. This accumulation of water becomes higher than sea level and flows seaward through deeper areas 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 seaward. The best method of escape would be to swim perpendicular to the pull of the current, then swim to shore with the shoreward waves once significantly free from it's effects. 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 on a guarded beach. 

    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
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