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Long Beach Lifeguards On High Alert Due To Rip Currents

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Lifeguards along the coast were on high alert as the after effects of Hurricane Arthur prompted vigilance against the dangers of rip currents.

In Long Beach, the town deployed more than 100 beach patrol personnel Saturday to cover over 4 miles of beach, CBS 2's Steve Langford reported.

Lifeguards were seen running up and down the shore warning swimmers of the real risks.

"The ocean is the ocean. It's unpredictable, it's a powerful force you have to respect it," said Long Beach resident Julie Carr.

The National Weather Service warned of a high risk of rip currents along the south shore of Long Island, Langford reported.

And even though Arthur blew through New York faster than expected, the dangers of residual rip currents are never to be underestimated, beach patrol officials said.

"There are rip currents out there, but it's just not as severe as it was, I would say last night," said Long Beach Patrol Chief Paul Gillespie.

Gillespie said caution is paramount, especially with children.

"Today I would not take the little kids into the water," he said.

Beach officials said if you do get caught in a rip current, never try to swim against it. Though even some experts said that's easier said than done.

"As long as you're relaxed and you're floating you're going to be living. The rip current doesn't last forever, it starts to dissipate," said beach supervisor John Skudin.

While some beachgoers have been chased away from danger zones, most parents don't have to be told, Langford reported.

"We're not going swimming today and I always make sure I hold her hand," said parent Tom Murphy.

"Any ocean water you want to be very careful when you go near it," Benny Loscalzo said.

Lifeguards in Long Beach went off-duty at 6 p.m. and that's when beach patrol officials feared some swimmers may ignore their advice: never swim in the ocean without a lifeguard on duty.

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