By Rita L. Sherwood
Calling all locals!! We need your help!! How many times have you been at the beach and you’ve seen a visitor, whether it’s a parent or a child, go in the water on a double red flag? The reality is, despite the colorful flags being flown at the beach, not everyone really knows the meaning. How many lives could be saved if we just educated them a little bit better?
Renee Weslowski, a Cleveland, Ohio native, is trying to do just that through her colorful wristbands from Beach Flags U.S.A. Renee’s passion is to make learning about beach flags colors and their meanings fun, while also keeping everyone safe while enjoying the beach.
Beach hazards can encompass everything from large waves to strong currents, rip tides, and even marine animals like sharks. These beach hazards can be more dangerous than we think. Renee created these colorful wristbands through the States Lifesaving Association in collaboration with the International Lifesaving Federation. Her hope is that every visitor receives a colorful wristband according to the flags flown at the beach. Put it on, adults and kids alike, then they know what to do according to the color.
Renee has been beating the pavement and trying to get the wristbands placed in every rental house, condo, and hotel room here in our area. Do you own a second home or a condo here? For a nominal fee, you can do your part to educate kids and adults alike. The kids can even take the wristband home as a souvenir. The goal here is to empower parents to educate their kids, families, and friends.
And what do the different colors of flags and wristbands mean?
Red over Red /or Two Red flags is CLOSED. It indicates extremely dangerous conditions such as high surf, strong rip tide currents, sharks, excessive jellyfish etc. YOU CAN NOT enter the water, and if you do, you are subject to a $500 fine.
Red flag is HIGH HAZARD. Again, it indicates extremely dangerous conditions such as high surf, strong rip tide currents, etc. YOU CAN NOT enter the water.
Yellow flag is MEDIUM HAZARD. A yellow flag means that the surf conditions are moderate and rip currents are present. A yellow flag is a sign to exercise caution.
Green flag is LOW HAZARD. A green flag means that hazardous conditions are lower than normal, although the Gulf can be unpredictable. You can think of a green flag as all clear, and it’s safe.
Purple flag is MARINE LIFE IS PRESENT. Stingrays, jellyfish, sea snakes, and other types of marine animals are present.
Renee says, “The most rewarding part of this passion project of mine is giving back to our local community. Just think if these wristbands saved even one person from drowning, it’d be worth it!” Considering the four million tourists who will travel to our three counties this summer, I bet it’d save more people than that!
Renee is no stranger to giving back, as this widowed mom of three boys (now young men) used to be a hairdresser who worked with the American Cancer Society (ACS) helping women who lost their hair. She had a certified wig bank and would help women cut and style their wigs for a program called “Look Good Feel Better” with the ACS.
To find out more about her passion project, the beach safety wristbands, contact Renee at BeachflagsUSA@gmail.com or call 850-499-5563 or 216-336-0236.
And if you need any painting done, Renee and her fiancé also own All Around Painting 30A LLC, and they can be reached at 850-278-6405, or check them out on Facebook.
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