MIAMI (CBS4) – Be extra cautious at the beach this Independence day and through the weekend.

Dangerous rip currents are expected along all South Florida beaches due to increased easterly winds.

Beachgoers should look for beach warning flags and swim with caution.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Ocean Rescue Lifeguards are on high alert.

Rip currents are fast-moving belts of water that travel from the shore out into deeper water.

They often pull swimmers away from the shore and many times swimmers panic before being able to “break the grip of the rip” and drown because they can’t stay afloat according to rescue officials.

–       To survive a rip current, rescue personnel recommend trying to not panic.

–       Swim only at beaches with lifeguards.  If red flags are present, rip currents are considered strong and swimming is not advised.

–       Yellow flags mean a moderate risk and green flags mean the surf is calm.

–       Remember to never swim alone and pay close attention to children and elderly swimmers.

–       To get out of a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline and never swim against the current.

–       Anyone who cannot swim out of the current should float or lightly tread water until the current reduces and they can swim out of it and back to shore.

–       Rescue officials don’t recommend trying to save others from a rip current because many people have drowned while trying to help.  Instead, call 9-1-1.

Statistics show that every year in the U.S., rip currents cause more than 100 drownings and account for about 80% of beach water rescues.


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