HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — This holiday weekend, you can expect the beaches to be packed.
With larger crowds, the potential for possible dangers increase in and out of the water.
As CBS2/KCAL9’s Randy Paige reports, some of the dangers can even be hidden.
Large waves, (which can catch you off guard) and rip currents (which can easily pull you under) are two things to look out for. County lifeguards want swimmers and surfers to know that both can be extremely dangerous — even to the most experienced swimmer.
“It’s really important that you check in with the lifeguards before you enter the water,” says Pono Barnes, LA County Ocean Lifeguard Specialist.
He says rip currents can be especially dangerous this time of year.
“If you come down to the beach and you see an area with no waves,” says Barnes, “the common misconception is oh, there’s no waves so it’s really safe. And it’s probably the worst place you could be swimming because it’s probably a rip current.”
Barnes says it’s best to swim where you see waves consistently breaking. That means that there is probably no rip tide there.
Paige watched as one woman got caught in a rip tide and a lifeguard went out to rescue her.
What should you do if you find yourself in a rip current?
Lifeguard say, first — stay calm. Then you should waves your hands so a lifeguard comes out to help you.
Or they say, if you are strong enough to swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip current and then you can swim in.
“Don’t ever swim against the current,” Barnes says, “because that will tire you out. And the water is going to win every single time.”