SEASIDE HEIGHTS — Last year was a deadly summer along the Jersey Shore as rip currents claimed the lives of at least six people, with several other close calls.

With Memorial Day weekend here, lifeguards will once again be on the alert. Beach goers, meanwhile, can also do their part to ensure everyone stays safe.

Rip currents can be especially dangerous at certain points of the beach, according to Jim Miller, a research associate professor at Stevens Institute of Technology. Gaps in collapsed sandbars can cause the currents and they can also happen near piers and jetties.

"Once the water comes in ... it looks for the easiest way out, and wherever there's a hole in the sandbar, that's where the water looks to escape," Miller said.

Sign advising how to escape from rip currents
Sign advising how to escape from rip currents (National Weather Service)

It is also important for even the most seasoned visitors to the Jersey Shore to pay attention to warnings from lifeguards and to only swim in designated areas.

Rob Connor, captain of the Seaside Heights Beach Patrol, said it's a good idea to check with the lifeguards at the beach to get an idea of any potential risks on that particular day.

Connor said last year was definitely a bad year for New Jersey beaches when it came to rip currents, and that this year could be another bad year.

"You really never know. It's all about the winds and the tides," he said. "If you listen to your lifeguards and stay in a safe area you'll be OK."

Rip current emergencies were reported along the coastline, including incidents in Atlantic City and Belmar in one night last year.

Previous reporting by Dino Flammia included in this report

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