Rip currents halt swimming at AC beaches
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - September 7, 2012 (WPVI) -- The surf is so rough from strong rip currents in New Jersey that swimming has been temporarily banned in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City's Beach Patrol says the powerful waves and churning water off the Jersey coast are too dangerous for average swimmers to handle.
"We're going to see conditions worsen as we go through today and certainly into the weekend. We're going to see higher waves and we're going to see stronger rip currents," said Chief Rod Aluise.
Lifeguards are allowing bathers on the edge of the water, but anyone who tries to go in deeper is called out.
"You can feel the pull, especially just a little wave you think is dead, something you could walk through. It just kind of grabs you and you have to stand still to brace yourself," said Connie Woodring.
"I saw the guards bring a couple people back in and they were only maybe 10 feet into the water. It's really rough. I was standing in it and it was pulling me down," said Stacy Weinstein.
The five to six foot waves are giving surfers some of the best rides they've had all season.
"Just the rush, the excitement, the adrenaline about it. You feel like you're ripped into a million pieces and put back together," said Mark Pilagin.
"As you enter the water, you can feel the undercurrent pulling you immediately so you've got to be really careful getting out. You've got to time the sets just right so you don't take a beating," said Brian Heritage.
The rides are great, but surfers say when things don't go their way it's like being caught in a washing machine.
"I just fell from the top of a wave to the bottom, it's like I hit concrete cause you're going so fast and you're so high. It was pretty bad," said Mike Casey.
Swimming restrictions are a disappointment to some who came to the beach hoping to get in a dip before heading home.
"I mean I'm happy I can be on the beach because of the sunshine but I'm definitely bummed about the fact that I can't get in and swim," said Stacy Weinstein.
Others who've been caught in powerful rip currents before, have no problem watching all the wave action from the shore.
"I got caught in this before and could hardly get out. I almost drowned so I'm going to respect the law and stay out of the water," said Kevin Kearney.
The dangerous rip currents will continue through the weekend, so if you're in or near the water please beware.
new jersey, atlantic city, local/state, nora muchanic
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