We drove down to the Belmar shore yesterday (a one hour drive) without checking the news. That was a mistake.

When we arrived, sweaty, hot, and ready to jump in the water, we saw the red flags. Tropical storm Bertha was churning up the tides, and swimming was forbidden.

The water is still off-limits to everyone except surfers with longboards. They see these things differently.

So, remember to check the weather before you go, and don’t forget this helpful advice:

Strong rip currents can move you away from the shoreline very quickly. Please check with lifeguards before entering the water. Do not swim in unsupervised areas. Do not swim alone or at night.

If you become caught in a rip current… stay calm and do not fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you break free of the current. Then swim at an angle… away from the current… toward the shore. If you are unable to escape by swimming… float or tread water. When the current weakens… swim at an angle away from the current toward the shore. If at any time you feel you won/T be able to reach the shore… draw attention to yourself by calling or waving for help.

Even though we couldn’t swim, the lifeguards didn’t complain if you got your feet wet. With the currents, wet was a short trip from the feet to the whole body. Here’s a film from yesterday, going in as far as I could without ruining the camera.


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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