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Rip current risk easing but swimmers still urged to be careful

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The rip current risk is easing as Hurricane Cristobal moves deeper into the North Atlantic after a week that saw the death of a swimmer and the closures of some Long Island beaches.

As the Labor Day holiday weekend gets underway, the National Weather Service says there's a moderate risk Friday for rip currents at beaches in Kings, southern Queens, southwestern Suffolk, southeastern Suffolk, and southern Nassau counties.

Swimmers are advised to still be cautious.

Rough surf and strong rip currents were blamed this week for the death of a 17-year-old at Sandy Hook in New Jersey.

Sarmard Rizvi was knocked down by a wave and carried into the surf at an unguarded beach on Tuesday. Dozens of lifeguards recovered the South Plainfield resident, who died at a hospital on Wednesday.

Lifeguards along the Jersey shore have been busy with rescues all week as Cristobal whipped up waves.

Even if the surface of the water looks calm, there could be dangerous rip currents swirling below the waves, powerful enough to pull even an experienced swimmer far out to sea — or under water.

If a swimmer is pulled into a rip current, they should follow these steps to escape its grip and get back to shore:

  • Remain calm to reserve energy and think clearly.
  • If possible, yell for help and wave for help while still in shallow water.
  • Never fight against the current. Swim parallel to shore until the current lets up, then swim at an angle toward the beach.