Rip current concerns following stormy weather on the Suncoast

Rip current concerns following stormy weather on the Suncoast
Rip current concerns on the Suncoast. (Source: WWSB)

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB) - Heavy storms the last few days causing some powerful waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Some people at Siesta Beach braving the waters, while many just enjoying the scene from the comfort of the sand.

“I mean it’s beautiful waves but I try to stay away from that because I almost drowned a couple of times with some rough waves back and forth, so I try to stay on the shore area,” said Cherale Williams, a visitor to Siesta Beach.

Rip currents are a very real danger and they can even be deadly. Lifeguards say look out for water that is foamy, dirty and sandy. If you find yourself in a rip current you should swim parallel to the shoreline.

“In the lifeguard profession we use something called break the grip of the rip, which means basically swim to your left or to your right, yell for help if somebody’s on the shoreline,” said Chief Scott Montgomery, Chief of the Sarasota County Lifeguard Operations.

Another way to avoid becoming a victim of a rip current is to swim where lifeguards are present. If that’s not possible, you are being encouraged to be smart.

“Know your own swimming abilities, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is not like swimming in a pool," said Montgomery. "Conditions are a lot different, so know your own skills and abilities, have some situational awareness of the water, what does it look like.”

Lifeguards did have the red flags flying high. That means conditions are dangerous and people should stay out of the water.

Rip currents are responsible for around 100 deaths in the United States each year.

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