Evaluating Swim Conditions When You Hit The Beach

Two girls swimming off our coast are safe after they were rescued by the Coast Guard when they apparently swam out too far into the ocean.

While the rescue had a happy ending, it raises some questions about how far out is too far when swimming at the beach.

We talked with lifeguards who keep a close eye on swimmers at Atlantic Beach and spend a lot of time studying the water conditions before they start their day.

They run and swim the length of the beach to determine what types of dangers they want swimmers to be aware of.

They look for rip currents and strong surf and set out flags to let beach goers know what to expect.

We asked the assistant head lifeguard, Jon Mancini, what advice he has on safe distances away from the shore for average swimmers. He says, "It depends on each day. Conditions change, the tide changes, but I would suggest just a little past the wave break. If there is a big break out there just swim 10 to 20 yards past where the waves are breaking is a safe distance to be."

Every morning lifeguards put out one of three flags. Green--which means good swimming conditions, yellow-a moderate risk for rip currents and strong surf, and red, which means its risky out there-- and it's advised not to swim because of rough conditions and a big risk for rip currents.


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