Swimming death a reminder to be aware of dangerous currents

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SARASOTA - An extensive search for a missing swimmer ended tragically over the weekend off Lido Key. Police say 19-year-old Steeve Reserve drowned after going swimming in an area where signs warned of dangerous currents. Now lifeguards are warning swimmers to know your abilities, because rip currents can take your life.

There aren't any rip current warnings right now at Sarasota County public beaches, but conditions can change with fronts or stormy weather.

County lifeguard manager Scott Montgomery says a rip currents form when two currents come together at one location on the beach; and when they reach the shoreline, they have to go back out into the surf, so the two currents create a path back out.

If conditions are ripe for rip currents, lifeguards will warn swimmers with flags and swimmers will see signs posted all around. “When people get caught in this rip current, they get a sense of pulling, taking them away from the shoreline. So again, as the sign says, don't fight the current, because it will dissipate after a few yards. But if you swim to your left or to your right, parallel to shore, you should be out of the rip current.”

Montgomery says if you see someone caught up in a rip current, you can yell out to them to swim left or right. He says you shouldn't attempt to rescue them yourself unless you're a very strong swimmer.