N.J. officials urge extreme caution as dangerous rip currents persist

Waves in South Seaside Park on Sept. 20, 2019. (Justin Auciello/WHYY)

Waves in South Seaside Park on Sept. 20, 2019. (Justin Auciello/WHYY)

Dangerous rip currents continue to impact New Jersey due to large swells from now dissipated Hurricane Humberto.

The National Weather Service says a high risk of rip current development continues through Friday evening. But dangerous conditions will likely persist through the weekend.

First responders in Long Beach Island conducted numerous ocean rescues this week. According to the Barnegat Light First Aid Squad, one person drowned and five were hospitalized.

With sunny skies and warm temperatures this weekend, officials warn beachgoers to only swimming at lifeguard beaches.

Lifeguards will be on duty at Ocean Bathing Area 1 at Island Beach State Park. In Long Beach Island, lifeguards will be duty in Barnegat Light (10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on 22nd Street), Harvey Cedars (10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 80th Street and Middlesex Avenue), Ship Bottom (10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at 7th, 15th, and 20th Street), and Long Beach Township (10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 68th Street in Brandt Beach).

How to identify a rip current:

  • A channel of churning, choppy water.
  • An area having a notable difference in water color
  • A line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
  • A break in the incoming wave pattern.

If caught in a rip current, NOAA advises:

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t fight the current.
  • Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—toward shore.
  • If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help.

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