As Atlantic Beach Fire Chief Michael Simpson transitions into his new role, he is looking ahead to summer, which means more visitors on the island.
The fire department is urging visitors to educate themselves on water conditions before going out.
“Don’t come alone,” Simpson said. “Don’t swim alone, swim with a partner. Let someone know that you’re here, where you’re at when you’re expected to leave so that there’s a plan and someone knows your whereabouts. If you bring small children to our beach, come prepared to take care of your small children and to keep an eye on them.”
One mother on the beach said she makes sure to talk to her kids about safety.
“And I tell them to pick a spot on land and if they get under the water and they come back up, find that landmark then they’ll know where I am,” Dawn Adams, said.
Adams said, although the beach is a place to have fun, it is important for her kids to know the safety rules and follow them.
“We’ve had people that have drowned at the beach that we know, so they know that it’s not you just ‘go out there and you’re carefree and do whatever you want’,” Adams said. “There are still certain rules that you need to follow when you’re at the beach.”
There are also flags and safety signs set up along the beach to warn visitors about wave conditions, along with the Atlantic Beach Fire Department’s contact number.