Rip current warning on Long Island after rescues, 2 deaths

Jeff Smith Image
Monday, August 3, 2015
Warning about dangerous rip currents at local beaches
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Jeff Smith has more from Long Beach.

LONG BEACH (WABC) -- Long Island officials have issued a warning about rip currents after a frightening weekend for many in the New York area who ventured into the ocean.

Lifeguards were busy rescuing several people from the choppy waters, but sadly, two swimmers didn't make it.

With sweltering heat and humidity and ocean water temperatures in the 70s, thousands of people are flocking to local beaches. Inviting as it may be, that water has also been extra dangerous for the past couple of days due to strong rip currents.

Two people drowned at Long Island beaches over the weekend, including one in Long Beach who was swimming after lifeguard hours had ended.

To avoid getting yourself into trouble, the first order of business is to only swim when lifeguards are present. Flags on the beach indicate which areas are safer to swim.

There are steps you can take if you feel yourself being pulled out to sea by a rip current.

"Don't swim against that rip current, because you'll panic, and that's when you have your problem," Long Beach head lifeguard Paul Gillespie said. "When you get out to sea, swim parallel to the shore."

From the time you arrive at the beach, lifeguards are your lifeline in these types of conditions.

"Come on that beach, and you ask them 'Where can I swim and be safe?" Gillespie said. "And they'll tell you, 'Swim in front of me, and listen to what I tell you.' And you'll have a good time."