Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials remind residents and visitors to stay alert and use caution at the beach this week, as an elevated risk of rip currents is expected along the Florida Panhandle through the weekend. A moderate to high risk of rip currents is expected from Escambia to Franklin County through Sunday, July 28.

“Weather conditions may begin to improve this weekend, but beachgoers and boaters should still remember to use caution when enjoying the water,” said FDEM Deputy State Meteorologist Tiffany Hersey. “The high rip current risk is expected to continue through the weekend due to onshore winds combined with the recent disturbed weather pattern.”

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. Visitors and Floridians are reminded to visit www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov for updates on rip current warnings before heading to the beach and to observe beach warning flags. When a red flag is flying, beachgoers should remain alert.

When at the beach:

If caught in a rip current:

If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:

Practice Safe Boating:

For more information about emergency response in Florida, the 2013 Hurricane Season, and how you can to Get A Plan! visit FloridaDisaster.org. Follow FDEM on Twitter at @FLSERT, on Facebook at Facebook.com/FloridaSERT and Facebook.com/KidsGetAPlan.