WANTAGH - Lifeguards are reminding beachgoers about the risk of rip currents as countless Long Islanders head to the shores to mark the unofficial end of summer.

A high rip current risk alert was in effect at several South Shore beaches Friday, just as the long Labor Day weekend got underway.

Jones Beach lifeguard Tammy McLoughlin has been sitting above the crowd with her eye on the water for more than 15 years. She estimates that 80 percent of the rescues she's made over the years involved rip currents.

McLoughlin says anyone who finds themselves caught in a rip current should keep calm and swim parallel to the beach to avoid being pulled further out.

Authorities warn that swimmers should only go in the water when there are lifeguards on duty.