|Local lifeguards advise always swimming near a lifeguard
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Aug. 1, 2013) – In an effort to create an even safer experience at Manatee family-friendly beaches, Manatee Marine Rescue officials are asking people to learn more about local rip currents and how to survive them.
Marine Rescue Captain Joe Westerman and the Marine Rescue Division offer a host of beach safety tips in a new 3-minute video on the county’s YouTube channel and at www.mymanatee.org/beachsafety The video offers unique insight on the nature of rip currents and how to survive them if you’re caught in one.
Westerman says most local rip currents are 10-to-20 yards wide and can quickly carry swimmers away from the shore about 50 yards. Westerman and the Marine Rescue Division stress the importance of always swimming at one of Manatee’s two public beaches: Coquina Beach and Manatee Public Beach. Lifeguard stations post beach warning flags each day that indicate the current tides and water conditions.
“Never try to fight a rip current back to shore,” Westerman says. “When you do, you’re swimming against a current that’s five or 10 knots strong. It’s hard for anyone with any swimming capability to battle that kind of current.”
When swimming outside of Manatee’s public beaches, Westerman says parents or adults should always be near children playing in the water. Swimmers should always know their swimming ability and should refer to water condition charts each day at lifeguard stations to determine what the local conditions are.
Westerman and other Marine Rescue personnel are available for public presentations on drowning prevention and beach safety by calling (941) 749-3500, ext. 8355.
The video will also air soon on MGA TV at www.mymanatee.org/mga or locally on Bright House channel 622, Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 20.
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.