There will be lifeguards on alert at most South Florida beaches this Memorial Day weekend, but for those unmonitored stretches of shoreline, authorities want you to know how to protect yourself.
"There will literally be millions of people on all of our beautiful beaches," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Ocean Rescue Captain Joe McManus, whose unit re-enacted a rip-current rescue on Thursday to promote National Beach Safety Week.
Officials encourage those caught in a rip current to not panic, swim parallel to the shoreline or float, and if you see someone in trouble, dial 911 for help. "[The] most unsafe condition for people are rip currents," McManus said, "and then Good Samaritans will go in and try to help them, and the Good Samaritan is not trained as a life saver, so quite often, we have a double drowning."
McManus also warned against the mixture of swimming and alcohol.
Beach goers should also be aware of the variety of warning flags flown on lifeguard stands:
-Green: favorable swimming conditions.
-Yellow: moderate swimming conditions.
-Red: high surf or strong currents.
-Purple: beware of marine pests.
-Two red banners: water closed to the public.