Beach safety tips in the wake of T.S. Bill

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Hurricane season is just getting started and with Tropical Storm Bill making landfall  just north of the Rio Grande Valley, South Padre Island took precautions to protect its citizens and visitors. One such measure was the postponement of the Great Texas 300 Catamaran Race, which was originally set for last Wednesday.

The storm didn’t have any serious effects in the Laguna Madre region, but the increased surf and rip currents did lead to temporary closures at several beaches. The higher swells also led to the presence of more surfers, and social media buzzed with news of good waves.

Though impact was minimal, Island visitors should still make safety a priority while in the water. Here are some tips for those planning to visit the shore this summer.

Remember that even indirect storm hits can be damaging to an area, so check the National Hurricane Center to know how your area will be affected. Inform someone of your travel plans when heading out to the beach and, if possible, bring a friend along to help you remain safety conscious.

Most importantly for those intent on swimming is to know the dangers of possibly encountering choppy waves and rip currents. When caught in a rip current it is important to remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline as opposed to towards land and fighting the force. You can also free yourself by floating until the current weakens and attempt to draw attention to yourself for help.

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