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 Before You Go to the Beach


Although the Gulf of Mexico is a natural environment, it is susceptible to pollution especially during and immediately after rainstorms.
This is because water draining into the beach may be carrying sewage from overflowing sewage treatment systems. Rainwater also flows to beaches after running off lawns, streets, construction sites and other urban areas picking up animal waste, fertilizer, pesticides, trash and many other pollutants. Many of these pollutants can end up in the water at our beaches.
The information that follows is intended to provide you with guidance to make your day at the beach safe and enjoyable.
  • Check the weather and wave conditions before you go, and be alert for changing conditions.
  • NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established standards for the Ultraviolent (UV) Index, which indicates how best to protect yourself depending on the intensity of the sun.
  • View the UV Index in your area and make sure you are prepared for the sun.
    • The UV Index ranks solar radiation levels on a 0 to 11+ scale, with 11+ signifying high risk.
    • The Index is available as a smart phone app, and can be downloaded at the above link.
  • Pack sunscreen, sun glasses and a wide-brimmed hat for protection from harmful UV rays. 
  • A long-sleeved shirt or other cover-up may also be a good addition to your gear.
  • Bring plenty of water to prevent dehydration if you are unsure of the availability of water at the park or beach location that you are visiting.
Entrance to Blind Pass Beach
Sarasota Office:
Office of Environmental Health Services
1001 Sarasota Center Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34240
Venice Office:
Office of Environmental Health Services
4000 S. Tamiami Trail S., Room 121
Venice, FL 34293
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is intended to provide general public health guidance and is not a substitute for seeking medical advice from a health care provider. Water quality reports on this site are based on weekly water samples and represent the most up-to-date information available to local public health officials.