Moderate to high risk of rip currents — strong, narrow currents of water flowing away from the beach — are predicted for the weekend.

David Vaughan, beach director of South Walton Fire District, said several beachgoers have required help this season, with one being rescued from drowning.

"Typically, this time of year you get these temperature shifts and it starts to warm up," Vaughan said. "Winds tend to shift and come back out of the south, and that's what keeps the water up and causes the waves (which create rip currents)."

Risks are likely to extend into beaches at Destin, Okaloosa Island and Navarre, according to beach safety personnel.

Joe D'Agostino, beach safety chief for Destin Fire Department, said that based on current predictions, the water off Destin beaches could be closed this weekend.

D'Agostino said Destin beach patrols have rescued six people since March 9.

"To be honest, most people really don't heed the flag-warning system," D'Agostino said. "It's a good system, it's a needed system, but there's always going to be people that don't listen (and) don't heed the advice of the beach patrol or the flag color.

"We're not the fun police, we're the safe police," he added.

Rich Huffnagle, Okaloosa County's beach safety chief, said high rip current risks were expected for Okaloosa Island this weekend.

"Anytime you're at the beach, whether it's green flag, yellow flag or red flag, it's always best to check with a lifeguard and see what the conditions are," said Huffnagle, who added that his lifeguards have rescued one person this season.

There was high surf and rip currents on Navarre Beach on Wednesday, according to Austin Turnbull, beach safety director for Navarre Beach Fire Department. He said the Gulf of Mexico was closed to swimming, but most likely would reopen later in the week before worsening this weekend.

"I think the public is taking the information that we're giving them and using that information to make their own choices, instead of us having to tell them," he said.

One person has been rescued on Navarre Beach this season, with more than five requiring help, Turnbull said.

"When it comes to either water rescue situations or medical situations, when in doubt call it out," Vaughan said. "Just dial 911 before you whip out your phone and start recording a World Star video."

Nathan Cobb is a reporter for The Walton Sun.