Officials are warning beachgoers to be cautious of hazardous currents and waves pounding across the Southland during the Labor Day weekend.
The National Weather Service has issued a beach alert through Monday evening, listing an elevated surf of up to 5 feet, strong rip currents and "sneaker waves" --much larger waves that occur without warning.
Huge crowds are expected to hit the beach over the weekend, keeping lifeguards busy during the dangerous swimming conditions and surfers excited to catch a wave.
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"Most of the time it's a pretty safe environment. But Sometimes it's not," said Stan Chiu, who has been surfing since the 1970's.
The danger was evident Wednesday when a 28-year-old man swimming in Venice Beach died after getting caught in a riptide.
"With rip currents you want to let it pull you out--don't fight it," said Michael Warren, an experienced surfer. "The problem is people fight it and it exhausts them."
Safety recommendations include:
- Avoid climbing on jetties and rocks near the water's edge
- Stay near occupied lifeguard towers and never swim alone
- If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore
- Keep an eye on kids