After recent deaths, concern over dangerous rip currents - FOX 13 News

After recent deaths, concern over dangerous rip currents

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

This time of summer is when a lot of families hit the beach, but the water can be very dangerous.

There have been some really strong rip currents over the last few weeks and lifeguards say we all need to be aware of the dangers.

According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are particularly dangerous for people that are not strong swimmers – but they can be a hazard to all of us.

Three people have drowned at Gulf Beaches since April. One of those was a 14-year old boy from Polk County that drowned over the weekend off Anna Maria Island.

Lifeguards are putting out the warnings right now along many of our beaches - please be cautious when you're out swimming.

"The first thing when you're taking your family to the beach is find a lifeguarded area, most importantly," said Lt. Mike Gregory of the Sarasota Beach Patrol.

Experts say if you ever get caught in a rip current, don't panic. Instead of fighting the current, swim parallel to the shoreline. Once you're out of a current, swim at an angle away from the current and toward shore.

Some of our Bay area beaches have lifeguards; others do not. Experts say even if there are lifeguards you shouldn't rely on them. Rip currents can move fast.

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