Unnecessary roughness: Surfers, beachgoers warned of rip currents

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Beach Boys song ‘Catch A Wave’ encourages would-be surfers with the promise that you’ll “be sittin’ on top of the world.”

Wednesday, a storm churning in the Atlantic prompted warnings for Rhode Island beachgoers — though some hardcore surfers appeared to be elated at the big waves.

The conditions prompted Block Island high-speed trips to be canceled from Point Judith, Fall River, and Newport. The New Bedford ferry to Nantucket was also canceled.

Wednesday afternoon, lifeguards at Narragansett Town Beach closed the water to swimming due to the rough surf.

“It’s supposed to stay this way until 8 p.m.,” said Donna Radman. The New York resident and her husband John were watching the surfing daredevils from the safety of the Narragansett beach sea wall. They had no desire whatsoever to jump in themselves.

Safety Guide: Beaches and Rip Currents »

“They’re always out, it doesn’t matter what the weather is,” said John. “They’ll always look for the biggest waves.” He’d seen some as tall as six feet, he said.

The couple’s original plans were like many a Rhode Island summer tourist: “We were supposed to sail from Goat Island tonight on a lobster sail. We’re not too sure it’s going to happen with this weather,” said Donna. If the sailboat did go out, would she feel safe on it? “I actually have my reservations going out tonight on a sailboat,” Donna responded.

“It’s the [boat] captain’s call, I think,” put in John.

The typical warnings of rip currents — and to take care if you do enter the water — applied Wednesday. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Managements said lifeguards would be on duty at most state beaches all day.

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