JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – If you plan on staying close to home for Memorial Day weekend, anticipate crowds at the local beaches.
But while the beaches are among the biggest attractions in Florida, they can be dangerous, too.
“There’s a lot of uneven slews, sand bars with holes in it,” Capt. Rob Emahiser, with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue, said Friday. “We do believe there will be a possibility for rip currents.”
Rip currents can be deadly. That’s why lifeguards will be watching the ocean and the beachside in case someone needs help.
🤔Caught in a #RipCurrent?— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) May 25, 2022
⚠️DO NOT PANIC!
🌊Relax & float to conserve energy.
🏊Good swimmer? Swim parallel to shore until you clear the pull of the rip current.
🤷♀️Not a skilled swimmer? Flip on your back and float.
📢WAVE & YELL to get the lifeguard's attention. pic.twitter.com/VbE7fAYkJT
This weekend, beachgoers are encouraged to:
- Swim near a lifeguard stand
- Keep children within arm’s reach
- If you’re not an experienced swimmer, avoid the ocean
In addition to the possibility of rip currents, expect a lot of people.
“We do expect a very large crowd,” Emahiser said. “If it’s any indication of the large crowd, we had this spring, it should be a large crowd.”
One beachgoer told News4JAX on Friday that she plans to be back on Memorial Day.
“There are a lot of people out here. Period,” she said. “Jacksonville Beach is full always.”
In addition to lifeguards, police and fire and rescue personnel will be in the area.
This weekend, law enforcement officers will also be looking for impaired drivers and those not traveling with a seat belt on, and people are urged to drive safely.