Coast Guard warns Puerto Rico of rip currents impacting beaches

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard warns mariners, tourists and beachgoers of hazardous weather and sea states that will generate dangerous breaking waves and rip currents around coastal waters of Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra Islands, from Wednesday through the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

Most Puerto Rico beaches are open water beaches without lifeguards, swimmers are urged to exercise caution and follow local advisories and warning signs at their beach for beach closures and rip currents.

Recreational and commercial mariners are advised to put safety first and operate within their vessel’s parameters and not to go out in heavy weather.

“Rip currents and under tow are a significant threat to beachgoers and swimmers in Puerto Rico,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Sector San Juan chief of response. “These hazards have caused multiple drownings of local citizens and tourists this year on the island. If you visit a beach through the weekend, stay away from coastal rocks, if you see red flags on the beach or signs posted that say High Danger (Alto Peligro) — do not go in the water. If you have children, make sure they stay away from the waterline, a strong breaking wave could pull them out to sea. Pay close attention to warning signs and weather advisories, it could save your life.”

There current hazardous weather outlook for Puerto Rico and adjacent Atlantic Coastal warns of moderate to high risk of rip currents due to six to 10-foot breaking waves impacting most northern beaches on the island. National Weather Service Small Craft Advisory, Hazardous Weather Outlook, and Rip Current Statement,for Puerto Rico.

The presence of rip currents along our coasts is another reason people should wear life jackets at all times. People who fall overboard boats or overturn paddle crafts could potentially be affected by rip currents, and wearing a life jacket could help save their lives.

Anyone at a beach in Puerto Rico who witnesses an emergency or distress situation in the water should call the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command at 787-289-2041 or call 911 as soon as possible.

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