🏖 Beach and Water Safety information you need to know for the summer

🏖 Long Branch Beach Manager Dan George explains how to recognize rip currents

🏖 In addition to rip currents you'll also need to watch out for beach sweeps


There are rules and real good reasons for them at the beach each summer and it's imperative that you follow each one here at the Jersey Shore.

It can be challenging to recognize what rip currents look like, so, before you got to the beach this summer, it's important to learn all you can about these deceptive kinds of waves.

"There's a lot of water that comes in and that water has to do what? -- go back out -- so, the different topographies of the sand creates faster exits for that water and that's usually where the rip currents form," Dan George, the Beach Manager in Long Branch, said.

Hometown View
(Kevin Williams, Townssquare Media NJ)
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"It is a current going in the opposite direction, so, it's discolored sometimes, there's little waves, there's a mark up in the water there -- with a good eye, you can see it."

If you find yourself in a rip current -- or see someone in one and need to know what to do -- George advises you to swim parallel to the beach.

"You don't want to swim back into the beach because you could have a 2, 3, 4, 5 mph current you're trying to swim in and that won't work," George said. "You swim to your left or to your right, swim out of the rip current and then, you could have a much better chance of swimming in."

Beach view of rip current along a jetty
Beach view of rip current along a jetty (Dr. Tom Herrington, Stevens Institute of Technology via NOAA)
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Some of the dangers with rip currents could be avoid if swimmers are vigilant and cautious.

"I think the biggest problem sometimes beachgoers get themselves into is 'oh, it doesn't look that rough today, looks kind of calm' -- there's still rip currents on days where it appears to be mild," George said.

Before you go into the water at the beach this summer, you need to be aware of not only the surf conditions but also honest about your own physical ability.

George explains that in June especially, the water is colder and many people just aren't in shape enough to take on the waves and surf.

Rip current risks are high on Friday
Rip current risks are high (Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol)
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"The majority of the people that come to the beach (in June) are not in swimming shape like they would be in August, so, they're kind of out of swimming shape, the water is cold -- that's a perfect recipe for cramping or just not being physically fit to get yourself out of a dangerous situation," George said.

He advises you to be smart and cautious this summer and that includes here at the start of beach season.

"Work your way in, see how you feel, get a good feel for where your swimming -- just don't go flying in and 'there's a big wave and I'm going to swim out and catch it'," George said.

Waves and water at the beach in Wildwood Crest. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Waves and water at the beach in Wildwood Crest. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
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In addition to looking out for rip currents this summer, you'll need to keep an eye out for another condition in the water -- beach sweeps.

"You think you're having a great time and everything's perfect and all of the sudden where you went in -- you're half a mile to the north or the south," George said.

"There's rip currents that go out, there's also beach sweeps meaning the current is always constantly running and we have sweeps down the beach where I go in at one spot and with good waves and stuff, sometimes or really windy conditions, I could be a quarter of a mile down the beach in 2-minutes," George said.

There are also flags to pay attention to at the beach with blue standing for a designated swimming area, green for calm waters and wind, yellow means caution with possible rip currents, and red means dangerous.

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