JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Due to the heightened beach conditions from Hurricane Fiona and the incoming cold front Friday, Ocean Rescue lifeguards at Jacksonville Beach issued a Beach Safety Alert lasting throughout the weekend.
Dangerous and life-threatening beach conditions prompted the warning, which expires on Monday.
Until then, people must stay out of the water.
News4JAX was at the beach Saturday and saw plenty of people enjoying the sunny weather -- and water -- as red flags meaning rip currents are a risk blew in the wind.
Ocean rescue advised beachgoers not to swim this weekend because rip currents are a hidden danger. It’s important that you only swim if you’re experienced or swimming near a lifeguard.
“Unless you are an expert waterman, we recommend that you stay out of the water,” Capt. Rob Emahiser with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue said. “To even kids, when you think they are just splashing around in knee-deep water, if you are not within arms reach, they can get knocked over by a wave and the backwash will pull them beyond their depth.”
Rip currents are Jacksonville’s No. 1 weather-related killer.
They kill more people in Florida in an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning combined.
- If you find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t panic -- swim parallel to the shoreline.
- If you can’t swim out of the current, float or tread water.
- If you see someone caught in a rip current, DO NOT go in after them yourself. A lot of people die trying to save others.
You should call 911 if a lifeguard is not available and throw the person a flotation device if possible.