Park Point Beaches Packed with Swimmers Despite Rip Current Warning, Choppy Water

Many spent the hot second week of summer on the shore or in the water, despite the Red Flag Warning

DULUTH, Minn.- The Duluth Fire Department issued a red-flag warning on Park Point Beaches Sunday because of a high risk of Rip Currents. Despite this, many on the beaches said they felt safe as long as they were careful and didn’t swim out far from shore.

Sunday’s cooler temperatures were a welcome feeling for many after a week of 70’s and 80’s. “I’ve never been to Duluth so this was our time to get away and enjoy what started out as good weather,” said Alexis, wading in the choppy water.

But as wind gusts along the lake reached as high as 30 mph, beach-goers were advised not to swim until Monday morning, due to the high risk of rip currents among the waves.

“They’re not bad,” Alexis said. “I won’t go any further than I was, though.”

Alexis and Byron, who are visiting from the Twin Cities, thought they were getting away from the hustle and bustle. “That was the point of it, was get away and hit the water and enjoy vacation outside of the cities.” she said.

But the hustle and bustle came to 12th Street Beach on Park Point in Duluth, which was packed with sunbathers, sand-castle builders, and more swimmers.

While they didn’t go too far out and were monitored by others on shore, some though thought the choppy water was fun.

“They’re really bad, I almost drowned,” Kyisha said of the waves, jokingly. “I went underwater five times!” added Shyla, the two beaming with smiles and dripping with water.

They were swimming with friends Maliah and Daijia. They were looking forward to getting out of the house and into the water. “The waves, being in the water other than your shower,” said Kyisha.

Jokes aside, the Duluth Fire Department warns that rip currents can trap even the strongest swimmers. If you find yourself in one, don’t swim against it, but find the direction of flow and use it to exit the current before swimming away and back to shore.

If you do see someone caught in a rip current, yell instructions to the victim on how to escape, throw them a flotation device, and call 911 for assistance. According to the Minnesota Sea Grant, many have died trying to save rip current victims.

Back on the beach, those who did avoid the water were a bit smaller and furrier — like Byron and Alexis’s dog: Spy, named so due to being blind in one eye.

“I think he’s getting pretty cold out there cause the wind’s picking up. But he likes to run around at least,” Byron said. “We’re keeping him out of the water though. He’s got a little lifejacket on just in case.”

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