SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB)– It’s beach safety and rip current awareness week to help kick start the summer beach season and right in time for memorial day.

Regardless of the weekend though, the open ocean can be a dangerous place for any swimmer no matter your strength.

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Over in South Walton at the fire district, beach safety officials are educating visitors and guests on all things safety. SWFD Beach Safety Director David Vaughan wants to remind everyone to treat the water and lifeguards with respect, already this season lifeguards have had to facilitate numerous water rescues and public assists even on the yellow flags and single red flag days.

“The rivers of the sea, that’s what rip currents really are and so people are naturally attracted to them because it looks the safest to the untrained eye,” said Vaughan. “So wherever you see turned water without waves breaking, and if you are looking for it, you can see where the water is moving backward. As water is moving in you can see the counteraction on those areas where the waves aren’t breaking, those are your rip currents.”

To learn more about rip currents and the beach flag warning system visit South Walton Fire District’s webpage for more.