Rough surf, rip current increases expected at beaches

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A rip current advisory is in effect and officials believe rough surf conditions will increase throughout the week.

Red flags were up along the beaches on Monday to warm swimmers that there is a high hazard for strong currents and surf.

22 lifeguards on duty Monday watched for swimmers going too far into the surf. There were no rescues, but Captain Rob Emahiser says the conditions may get worse.

"We've got northeast winds that are blowing out bigger waves and increasing the energy that powers rip currents," said Emahiser.

Not good news for Jay Mohapir and his family. They are vacationing in Jax Beach for the holiday from Pennsylvania and were planning on heading out to the beach later this week.

"I'm hoping the currents will stay at bay and we're going to come and get little sun and enjoy the beach," said Mohapir.

Jacksonville Beach lifeguards are asking beach-goers to swim near them and stay in their line of sight.

"Swimming in front of a lifeguard will prevent you from getting into a rip in the first place so listen to the lifeguard's whistle. If you hear somebody whistling, look and see if they are whistling at you," said Captain Emahiser.

Emahiser says they will assess the conditions every day and change the flags to alert swimmers, but as the week continues and the crowds increase, he hopes the rough conditions won't.

"Fourth of July is our busiest time as far as rescues, lost children and hopefully the conditions won't combine to make it an any busier day," said Emahiser.

Swimmers are urged to stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. If you are a caught in a rip current, do not panic, do not swim against it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim back to shore. Signal a lifeguard if you are in distress.

To learn what the beach conditions, click here.

Color of flags up on the beach:

Double red – beach is closed to public

Single red – high hazard; strong surf and current

Yellow – medium hazard

Green – calm conditions

Purple – flown with red or yellow – dangerous marine life


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