Beach season is still a ways off, but local officials are already preparing for the dangers of rip currents.
Wednesday in New Buffalo, area first responders, park officials, lifeguards and the National Weather Service met to discuss how to raise awareness of rip currents.
"The purpose of the meeting today (Wednesday) was so we could learn how to better educate the public about rip currents, and ways to keep them safe on days when we are expecting rip currents," said Sam Lashley with the National Weather Service. "Rip currents are very dangerous and deadly, and we need people to stay out of the water on those days."
Since 2000, 17 people have lost their lives due to rip currents in our area. That's the same as the number of people killed from tornadoes, strong winds, floods and lightning combined.