Red flags will be flying and whistles blowing as the risk for strong rip currents is high on Jersey Shore beaches on Saturday.

Winds out of the east gusting up to 25 knots will produce "dangerous pounding surf and rip currents" according to an alert from the National Weather Service, and be "life threatening" to anyone entering the surf.

Early morning visitors to the beach in Bradley Beach watch the heavy surf (Bud McCormick)

"Depending on conditions at your favorite beach, it might be smart to just stay out of the water and stick to sunbathing and building sun castles," advises meteorologist Dan Zarrow. "If you insist upon going in the water this weekend, please pay very close attention to posted signs, flags, and lifeguard instructions.

It's the second weekend in a row that the surf has been rough at the Shore. Seaside Heights Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz says there were 46 rescues alone last weekend. Beach erosion is also a problem as Long Beach police issued a warning about "dangerous drop offs" near the water's edge. Heavy machinery is on the beach to make repairs.

Winds should start to back off on Saturday night and will not be quite as strong on Sunday and Monday according to the National Weather Service's coastal forecast. Therest of the holiday weekend forecast, says Zarrow, calls for sunny skies with temperatures heading back to the upper 80s on Sunday and Monday.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, the NWS has some advice to follow:

  • Don't fight the current. It's a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second, but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer.
  • Relax and float to conserve energy. Staying calm may save your life.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current's pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can't reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: Wave and yell...swim parallel