Updated: May 17, 2021 10:15 PM
Created: May 17, 2021 05:03 PM
It is beach season, and while your first thought may be to cool off in Lake Superior, the Duluth Fire Department wants to make sure you keep safety in mind.
When choosing to swim in Lake Superior, it's important to be aware of the possibility of rip currents.
Duluth Fire Department Assistant Chief Brent Consie says knowing how to handle them could save your life.
"You really have to train yourself before you go out. If I were to go out, and if I were to get caught into a rip current, what would I do? Recognize that it's happening, and then make sure you swim parallel to shore to get out of that rip current, and you'll find out you can usually easily get right back to shore," said Consie.
Consie says most fatalities happen when people try and fight the rip currents. Therefore, he wants to reinforce it is critical to know what to do if you get caught in one.
"A lot of people will get kind of surprised when it happens, and they can't believe it's happening, and they don't recognize that they're in that current, and so they immediately try and fight it to get back to where they were. They see their beach umbrella or their loved one, or something, and they try to swim right back to that, and of course that's what's going to get you into trouble," said Consie.
Consie also says the number of water emergencies that the Duluth Fire Department has responded to has increased every year.
To help inform the public about rip currents, the Duluth Fire Department puts out red or yellow flags if there is a risk of them.
With yellow flags, kids should be kept out of the water, and only people who are stronger swimmers or recognize and understand rip currents should be in the water.
With red flags, everyone should stay out of the water.
Consie says they will begin using those flag warnings by Memorial Day.
You can also find out about the current rip current conditions here.
People are also advised to swim near the Park Point Beach House, as that is where lifeguards will be staffed this summer.