CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - Emergency personnel are warning swimmers about dangerous rip current at Bay Area beaches after several people got caught in them and had to be rescued.
Clearwater Fire and Rescue said a father and son got caught in the strong rip currents at Clearwater Beach on Monday. The two were struggling to get to shore when rescuers helped get them back to safety.
Sarasota officials say there have been 14 water rescues from unguarded areas over the past three days, many of them caught in rip currents.
The National Weather Service is warning beachgoers that the rip currents remain a high risk at least through Tuesday evening for the entire coastal area.
On Monday they saved a family that went out too far and were too tired to make it back to shore, but many of their rescues have been rip current related.
“If they could just tread water, try to make their way parallel to shore, right or left, and work their way back in, they'd be much better off,” lifeguard captain Roy Routh told FOX 13 News. “Don't over estimate your ability, swim near a lifeguard, swim on a guarded beach and pay attention to the flags.”
Captain Routh tells us if you see the red flag flying you should really stay out of the water unless you're a very experienced swimmer.
He said each rescue took place where lifeguards were not stationed. He says swimmers need to follow these guidelines to stay safe.
-Don't fight the current
-Swim parallel to the shore to escape the rip current and then swim toward the shore
-If you can't escape the rip current, float or tread water
-If you need help, yell or wave for assistance