Yellow and red flags will be flying on Jersey Shore beaches this weekend as the result of a storm moving off to our south that will create moderate to dangerous rip currents.

The waves off Bradley Beach
The waves off Bradley Beach (Bud McCormick)

Another sunny and hot weekend around New Jersey will lure many to the beaches.  Thanks to gusty northeast winds of 15 knots, the ocean current will be strong creating rip currents. "The departing storm system will contribute to rough surf and strong rip currents at the Shore this weekend," warns Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

The National Weather Service says there is a moderate risk of strong or frequent rip currents for Saturday.

The death of a 25-year-old man from Red Bank this week at Gateway National Park off Sandy Hook is being blamed on rip currents. Park officials say Andros Vega-Pena went swimming after hours and got swept out to sea. His body was discovered by fisherman on Friday morning.

Dr. Jon Miller, a Coastal Processes Specialist with the NJ Sea Grant Consortium tells CBS New York that it's not always easy to spot a rip current. He says that the water will look dirty or muddy with a calm spot in the middle of the all the waves.

It doesn't take much to get caught in a rip current. You can feel yourself being pulled backwards just standing in shallow water. Miller says the best advice to avoid rip currents is to swim near a lifeguard and don’t do things in the ocean that you know you’re not capable of doing.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, some advice to follow.

  • Don't fight the current. It's a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second, but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer.
  • Relax and float to conserve energy. Staying calm may save your life.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current's pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can't reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: Wave and yell...swim parallel
Information on spotting a rip current from shore
Information on spotting a rip current from shore (New Jersey Office of Emergency Management)


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