Swimming smartly

Waves crash against the shore on a sun-splashed Monday morning on Navarre Beach. The sun is shining and a yellow flag is flying, warning swimmers of the dangerous rip currents in the Gulf of Mexico and to swim with caution.

Not every swimmer puts a lot of stock into the flags, even on red-flag days when swimmers are advised to stay out of the water. In fact, the two drownings that have occurred this summer here have happened on red-flag days.

Jay Wiley Evans went for his daily swim off Opal Beach and washed up on the shore of Navarre Beach at the end of last month. Thomas Edward Buss drowned Friday afternoon off Navarre Beach.

Jake Smith has been a lifeguard for three years and has been involved in more than his fair share of rescue efforts and is surprised when people go into the water on a red-flag day.

“Rip currents are a serious thing,” Smith said. “You don’t want to put yourself in a dangerous situation. You never want to underestimate the water here.”

All too often, though, people do just that and it’s not a surprise.

Read the full article in the Aug. 11 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.

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