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YMCA uses rip current simulator to educate swimmers

Updated: Jul. 2, 2018 at 9:54 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With the Fourth of July just days away, lifeguards across the Grand Strand are gearing up for larger crowds.

Earlier this summer, North Myrtle Beach Ocean Rescue posted to their Facebook page they have already seen a large number of water rescues this season due to rip currents.

Being in the midst of summertime, the beaches are already packed from North Myrtle Beach to Garden City, and while there's plenty of time for fun in the sun, ocean rescue teams want residents and visitors to swim with caution, especially with these larger summer crowds.

"Obviously July is the peak of the season for us and we try to prepare for it to the best of our ability. This time of year we have more lifeguards situated," said Libor Jedlicka, with Lack's Beach Service.

According to the WMBF First Alert Weather Team, conditions on July 4 could enhance the risk for more dangerous surf.

That has been something the Grand Strand YMCA is educating swimmers about with the area's only rip current simulator.

"You can't take lifeguards for granted and that they are there to watch her kids. You have to be attentive, watch your kids and know where they're at," said Michelle Krenzer.

Several kids who considered themselves experienced swimmers said they don't go in deep water when swimming in the ocean, to stay safe.

Still, even their parents say a pool is much different than the ocean.

"She knows she can only go so far and so deep, so I still keep a close eye on her," said Sharon Ziggler.

Even experienced competitive swimmers like Makayla Griegs, who demonstrated the rip situation, was surprised by the current's strength.

"It feels like someone trying to pull you back when you're trying to swim forward," said Griegs.

Those who are planning to go to the beach this Fourth of July are asked to heed this advice:

"Talk to a lifeguard, get educated and ask if you have a question about something you're not sure about, and just enjoy the beautiful beach time and stay safe," said Jedlicka.

Beachgoers can also use the flags posted by each lifeguard to find out how current water conditions are. There are also signs by nearly every access explaining what each color means.

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