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Safety, Medical & Health Information

Beach Safety  •   Destin Fire Department  •   Important Phone Numbers

Medical Centers

  • White-Wilson Medical Center, 850.837.3848, 990 Airport Road, Destin, Florida
  • Destin Urgent Care and Diagnostic Center, 850-837-9194, 996 Airport Rd, Destin, FL

Fort Walton Beach

  • White-Wilson Medical Center, 850.863.8100, 1005 Mar-Walt Drive, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
  • White-Wilson Medical Center, Immediate Care, 850.863.8219, 1005 Mar-Walt Drive, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
  • Suncoast Healthcare Professionals, 850.864.0800, 128 N.E. Eglin Parkway, Fort Walton Beach, FL. 32548
  • Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, 850-862-1111, 1000 Mar-Walt Drive, Fort Walton Beach, FL


  • White-Wilson Medical Center, 850.897.4400, 2001 East Highway 20, Niceville, Florida
  • Twin Cities Hospital, 850-678-4131, 2190 Hwy 85 N, Niceville, FL


  • North Okaloosa Medical Center, 850-689-8100, 151 Redstone Ave, Crestview, FL

South Walton Beaches

  • White-Wilson Medical Center, 850.622.3330, 7220 Hwy 98 West, Suite 230, Destin (So. Walton), Florida
  • Sacred Heart Hospital, 850-837-0032, Highway 98, Sandestin, FL
  • Healthmark Regional Medical Center, 850-892-5171, 4413 US Highway 331 S, DeFuniak Springs, FL
  • Seaside Medical Arts, 850-231-6995, 27 Quincy Circle, Seaside, FL
  • Seagrove Beach Medical Center, 850-231-6200, 5399 Cty Highway 30-A, Seagrove, FL


Emerald Coast Safety Tips

Accident Reporting
Any accident involving death, disappearance or personal injury, or damage greater than $500 must be reported. A "boating accident" includes, but is not limited to, capsizing, collision, foundering, flooding, fire, explosion and the disappearance of a vessel other than by theft. Accidents should be reported immediately. Report accidents to the nearest office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Boating While Intoxicated
Is a criminal offense punishable by fines up to $2,500, imprisonment of up to one year, non-paid public service, and mandatory substance abuse counseling. The law provides for mandatory sentencing. If a drunken operator kills or causes serious bodily injury to another person, the penalty is five years in state prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

By operating on Florida waterways, you are deemed to have given consent to be tested for alcohol if arrested for operating under the influence. Refusal to submit to a test will result in the assessment of a $500 civil penalty.

Diving and Snorkeling
All divers shall display a free-flying, 12 by 12 inch minimum, white diagonal stripe on a red background divers-down flag in the area in which the diving occurs. Divers shall attempt to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag on rivers, inlets and navigation channels.

Boaters should stay at least 100 feet away from a diver-down flag.

Divers shall not, except in case of emergency, display the divers-down flag in an area which would constitute a navigational hazard.

Personal Flotation Devices
Every child under 6 years of age must wear a USCG approved PFD on a vessel less than 26' while the vessel is underway.

PWC operators and passengers must wear an approved Type I, II, III or V PFD.

Required PFDs must be readily accessible.

Personal Watercraft
Persons less than 14 years of age shall not operate a Personal Watercraft.

Florida's water safety laws, effective 1996, allow 14-year-olds to operate Jet Skis or other personal watercraft. However, in order to rent one, you have to be 16-years-old, plus anyone 19 or younger must have a boater education card.

Each person on a Personal Watercraft (PWC) must wear a Coast Guard approved PFD. Additionally, the operator must wear a lanyard type cut off switch provided by the manufacturer which will shut off the PWC should the operator fall off.

The operator of a Personal Watercraft should operate in a reasonable and prudent manner. This includes being aware of other boats in the operating area, awareness of environmental concerns and respecting the rights of shoreline property owners. The PWC operator should not follow other boats closely and should not jump the wake of other boats.

Speed Limits And Reckless Operation
No vessel shall be operated within Florida in a reckless or negligent manner. Examples of reckless or careless operation include:
  • Excessive speed in regulated or congested areas
  • Operating in a manner that may cause an accident
  • Operating in a swimming area with bathers present
  • Towing water skiers where obstructions exist or a fall might cause them to be injured
  • Bow riding or riding on the gunwale or transom where no seating is provided
  • Operation of a personal watercraft which endangers life or property
Water Skiing
No person shall tow a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar device without an observer aboard or wide-angle rear view mirror.

In addition each person engaged in water skiing or aquaplaning must wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved PFD.

Water skiing is not permitted between the hours of one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.