Coast Guard cautions for rip currents during Labor Day Weekend

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard advises caution at beaches in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to possible dangerous rip currents in the area during Labor Day Weekend.

The National Weather Service is predicting an increase in rip current risk, with moderate to high risk for most north and east beaches by late Saturday or Sunday. National Weather Service Marine Forecast.

“We urge people to exercise caution this weekend with the potential for rip currents to occur due to passing weather,” said Lt. Commander Kimberly Shadwick, Sector San Juan Search and Rescue mission coordinator. “The ocean can quickly become troublesome for swimmers and beachgoers, please be vigilant and contact the Coast Guard or 911 at the first signs of a person in the water in distress.”

The Coast Guard Rescue Sub-Center contact number to report a distress or rescue situation in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands is 787-289-2041, while VHF Channel 16 is the international distress frequency to report maritime emergencies.

The Coast Guard advises public and recreational boaters of safety messages:

A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Any object or person caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.

If you are caught in a rip current, do not panic. The way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, begin to swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against the current, as you can become easily exhausted, even if you are a strong swimmer.

Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of the storm through local television, radio and Internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16 to obtain information on small craft advisories and other warnings.

For the latest forecast advisories and weather updates visit the National Hurricane Center website.

For more news follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For recent photographs follow us on Flickr.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.