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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Spring Break winds down for most South Florida kids, a last trip to the beach may be on the agenda.

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Those going should be careful around the water due to a number of recent drownings and near-fatalities from dangerous rip currents caused by high winds and waves this month.

“I urge experienced swimmers and the general public to exercise caution when swimming at the beach,” said Coast Guard Captain A. J. Gould. “Doing so could save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.”

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Red flags along beaches warn swimmers about rough conditions.

A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore caused by strong waves and winds. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Any object or person caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.

Guide: How To Escape From A Rip Current

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If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. The way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, you will be able to swim back to the beach with less resistance.