Lifeguards warn of rip current threat at Jacksonville Beach

Could be an issue through the weekend

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The red flags are waving Friday at Jacksonville Beach. All along our coast there is a high risk for rip currents.

While Hurricane Joaquin is turning out to sea, that doesn't mean there won't be dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions on our local beaches.

Lifeguards at Jacksonville Beach tell News4JAX there is always a possibility of closing the beach, but that it's not likely in this situation.

Lifeguards warn this is not the time to get in the water if you aren't a very strong swimmer.

"This time of season we only have two guards posted" said Lifeguard Captain Rob Emahiser. "One the south end, one north of here. If you insist on swimming during these dangerous conditions please let the lifeguard know, and always ask a lifeguard about the current conditions."

Emahiser said they take it day by day, but right now it looks like those reds flags will be waving through the weekend.

Beach goers agree the water is rough.

"Looks very intimidating I wouldn't be out there today" said Marcus Kingrey, a visitor from Kentucky.

Bill Delaney lives in Jacksonville Beach. He said "I've seen worse waves than this, but they're pretty high. I guess probably 6 or 8 feet"

General Grant is a Former Navy Rescue Swimmer. He said even he has been caught in a current, and struggled to get out.

"I don't want to get in a situation that I can get out of" Grant said. "Once the current gets you, really you can't get out of it. Somebody has to help you, and if there's nobody out here to help, you're just a goner"

There have been five drownings this year on our coast, between May and August.

-An 11-yr old and 52-yr old at Little Talbot Island State Park
-A 32-yr old at Main Beach in Fernandina Beach.
-An unidentified man at Huguenot Park.
-A 40-yr old at Amelia Island.

Lifeguards also want to remind you there is still a lot of marine life lurking in the water, so that's also something to think about before diving in.
 

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