Mariners, swimmers warned of dangerous weather and rip currents from Tropical Storm Chris

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard would like to warn mariners and beachgoers of hazardous weather and sea states that could take place as Tropical Storm Chris makes its way up the east coast.

Wind, waves and visibility can quickly become problematic for boaters, while the increased sea states leading up to and after a tropical storm can create powerful rip currents.

Swimmers are urged to only swim at beaches with active duty lifeguards and to follow local advisories 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 are serious risk in the mid-Atlantic. If you head to the beach, pay attention to the local beach advisories and check the weather forecast before you go,” said Mr. Matt Brooks, command duty officer at the 5th District command center. “There have been numerous deaths this year due to rip currents. Swim at a beach with a lifeguard and do not swim after hours.”

Rip currents are a significant threat along the mid-Atlantic coast, primarily along the southern Outer Banks in North Carolina, in Maryland waterways and off the New Jersey shore.

The most important safety precaution people should take regarding rip currents is to swim only at beaches where lifeguards are on duty. Lifeguards are highly trained and are the first line of defense when beachgoers are swept away by rip currents. Don’t take the risk of swimming at an unguarded beach.

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 paddlecraft could potentially be affected by rip currents, and wearing a life jacket could help save their lives.

For more information on rip currents, visit: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov/

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