DEEP: Swimming Safety at CT State Parks and Forests

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Safety at State Swimming Areas

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reminds visitors to Connecticut State Park swimming areas that summer safety goes hand-in-hand with summer fun. Visitors to Connecticut State beaches need to be aware of important safety information.
Inland Parks:
At inland parks, a sign is posted to indicate when there is no lifeguard on duty. Also during those times when no lifeguard is present, the lifeguard chair may be upended as an additional tool to indicate an unattended swimming area.
Shoreline Parks:
At shoreline parks where swimming areas are larger, a color-coded flag system is used. The flag system was developed for shoreline swimming areas to denote when lifeguard protection is in place, as not all state beaches have lifeguards at all times. Shoreline parks include Hammonasset, Rocky Neck, Sherwood Island, and Silver Sands Beach State Parks.
The flags have been color-coded to resemble a traffic light:
  • Green Flag OPEN, lifeguard supervised swimming area.
  • Yellow Flag - WARNING, no lifeguard on duty although swimming is allowed.
  • Red Flag - CLOSED to all swimming, or area temporarily unsafe.
Signs denoting the flag color key are posted strategically in main shoreline public beach access areas.
GREEN flags denote perimeters of designated, supervised swimming areas. The lifeguard chair is located in the middle of the swimming area. Lifeguards are the first points of contact in an emergency. State lifeguards are trained in CPR, life support for professional rescuers, and life saving techniques. The flag system is an additional method of communication with the public for maintaining water safety.
YELLOW flags posted mean no lifeguard is on duty in that area and swimmers need to adapt their behavior accordingly.
RED flags mean the swimming area is temporarily closed and people should not go in the water at all. The lifeguard supervisor or park supervisor will determine when it is safe to go in the water and will post the appropriate flags. Reasons for red flags can be weather conditions such as lightening, environmental hazards such as excessive jellyfish, poor visibility or weather conditions, or any other unsafe condition.