South Florida

Planning to hit the beach this hot Memorial Day weekend? Better read this warning first

How to survive if you get caught in a rip current

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescues, and can be dangerous or deadly if you don't know what to do. This video shows you how to break the grip of the rip.
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Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water. Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescues, and can be dangerous or deadly if you don't know what to do. This video shows you how to break the grip of the rip.

Hate to cast a pall on your Memorial Day plans — especially since we told you it’s going to be sunny all weekend and way hot in South Florida and the Key. In fact, the entire state is flirting with shattering heat records.

Naples, for instance, tied its heat record two days running Wednesday and Thursday.

What could be better than jumping in the ocean to cool off a bit?

Apparently, plenty of other things — like going to pools or staying near the A/C.

That’s because the National Weather Service in Miami wants you to know that a rip current risk remains in effect through Monday evening. That means through Memorial Day.

The warning

We’ll let them deliver the bad news directly: “Life threatening rip currents will pose a hazard to swimmers. Heed the advice of lifeguards. Swimming is not recommended,” the service said.

These rip currents will plague hot Naples, too.

As of Friday, there hasn’t been a marine warning but with breezy conditions, be careful out there.

Rip currents, in case you haven’t been told often enough in South Florida, are powerful channels of water that flow quickly away from the shore, especially around low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near jetties and piers.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue offers boating safety tips to remind boaters to keep safe around the increased boating traffic ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Options

So what can you do?

We mentioned pools. There’s that (pricey) new Tidal Cove Waterpark that just opened at Aventura’s JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa. With breezy conditions promising winds of 21 mph Friday through Sunday and dipping to about 18 mph on Monday, maybe if you catch the wind just right you’ll really zip along the Constrictor, a 558 foot slide for riders on rafts.

You can also take a drive to Sanibel’s beaches. No rip current warnings on those beauties, where it will be breezy like Miami and about as hot — high 80s.

What to do if caught in rip current

What if you can’t resist a dip in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton beaches and got yourself stuck in a rip current?

First, don’t panic.

Relax and float.

Don`t swim against the current.

If you can, swim in a direction following the shoreline until you are free of the current’s tug. Then, just head to shore and walk back to your blanket.

If you are unable to escape the water’s pull, face the shore and call or wave for help. If you swam near a lifeguard station, as the weather center always warns, you’ll be in a better position.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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