BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The weather — at least for now — is great, with a balmy breeze and temps in the low 80s. But that balmy breeze is more of a gust at the beach, and with that gust comes a real risk for rip currents.
If you’re heading to any of Boca Raton’s beaches, be careful, and heed this warning from the State of Florida:
Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials remind beachgoers to use caution as an elevated risk of rip currents is expected along Florida Atlantic Coast beaches through the middle of this week. A high risk of rip currents is expected through tomorrow along the Florida East Coast, from Volusia County south through Miami-Dade County. Remaining beaches along the Northeast Florida coastline from Nassau County through Flagler County, as well as portions of the western Panhandle from Escambia through Okaloosa County, will see a moderate risk of rip currents.
“Ocean swells combined with tidal effects will generate an elevated risk of rip currents on the state’s east coast beaches early this week,” said FDEM Meteorologist Michelle Palmer. “It is important to swim within sight of a lifeguard and heed all directions from beach warning flags when at the beach, and to know what you should do if you are caught in a rip current.”
It is important to remember that when red flags are flying, beachgoers should remain alert while visiting Florida’s beaches. A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean.
When at the beach:
- Before you leave for the beach, check the latest National Weather Service forecast atwww.ripcurrents.noaa.gov for local beach conditions.
- Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify hazards.
- Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags.
Different beaches may use different colors but a commonly used series include:
- Double Red: Beach is closed to the public
- Single Red: high hazard, e.g., strong surf or currents
- Yellow: medium hazard
- Green: Calm conditions although caution is still necessary
- Purple: Flown with either Red or Yellow: Dangerous marine life
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.
- Pay especially close attention to children and persons who are elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
- Be cautious. Always assume rip currents are present even if you don’t see them.
If caught in a rip current:
- DON’T PANIC. Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
- NEVER swim against the rip. Stay afloat and signal for help.
- Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle–away from the current–towards shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water.
- Draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don’t become a victim too:
Get help from a lifeguard or, if one is unavailable, have someone call 9-1-1.
Throw the rip current victim something that floats–a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
Yell instructions on how to escape.
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