Swimming in the Gulf Shores is possible during March, but the water temperature is nippy, and there might be some hazards.
The average water temperature is approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but that fluctuates between a high of 71 degrees to a low of 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gulf Shores offers lifeguards on a seasonal basis between March and September each year. The authorities urge the public to swim in protected areas designated for swimming and only when the lifeguards are on duty.
Best Time To Go Swimming In Gulf Shores
The ideal period to swim in the Gulf Shores is March to May and September to November. [source]
From March to May, the temperature of the waters gradually warms up, moving from March’s high 60 degrees to May’s low 80 degrees [source]. This period is also the time of year that the crowds descend on the beaches for spring break and family outings. However, the waters will be at their warmest, excellent for swimming.
Visitors begin tapering off from September through November, and the beach atmosphere slows. The water temperatures start to cool, lingering between the mid-60 degrees to the higher range of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are still adequate for swimming, but this period is better for those looking to avoid the crowds.
Gulf Shore Hazards
Before hitting the shorelines, swimmers should check the beach conditions, ensuring that it is safe enough to take that dip. Stationed on all public beaches in Gulf Shores are lifeguard towers with beach flags.
The absence of beach flags does not signal that the conditions of the waters are safe for swimming. It is an offense to take a swim in the Gulf Shores while double red flags are flying. Perpetrators can be fined or arrested for committing the illegal act.
The greatest threats are rip currents and red tide. Everyone probably knows what rip currents are, but for those who don’t, they push against the flow of the wave and take individuals trapped in them out to sea. They form close to piers and jetties and break in sandbars.
Red tide is the build-up of specific species of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates. The microorganisms are toxic, and in large quantities, they can impact humans in the form of respiratory issues and skin irritations.