BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is partnering with Gulf Shores Police and Orange Beach Police to help keep beachgoers safe this Memorial Day weekend.

This will be the second year that ALEA’s Aviation Unit partners with the two agencies to conduct what they call a “Summer Rescue Swimmer Detail.” ALEA is set to provide an aircraft and pilot who will be able to quickly fly over the waters and deploy rescue swimmers from GSPD and OBPD to save distressed swimmers.

During last year’s Memorial Day weekend, the agencies received seven calls for service. Rescue swimmers were deployed a total of three times during these calls. The three times resulted in 16 distressed swimmers being rescued.

One of the leading factors in drownings along the Gulf Coast is rip currents. WKRG News 5 Meteorologist Grant Skinner explained what rip currents are and how they form.

“Rip currents can happen at any time of the year: this is one of the main reasons why it is such a deadly phenomena, especially for inexperienced swimmers,” said Skinner.

To escape a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline, or perpendicular to the rip current. By doing this, swimmers will move away from the rip current and towards calmer waters. It is extremely important to pay attention to what flags are up at the beach.