Fort Lauderdale's Ocean Rescue advised beachgoers to stay out of the water, but acknowledged not everyone would heed the warning.
"The expert surfers will be out there, so we just tell them to be careful, and we're there if they need our help," Chief Breck Ballou said. "We're there to go out and get them."
On Friday, more high waves and rip currents are likely along the coastal beaches of Florida's east coast and into southern Georgia, as well as tropical storm force wind gusts up to 50 mph.
Saturday, tropical storm force wind gusts reaching 50 mph might be felt as far north as the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Rip currents and high waves will also be an issue along coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, with significant coastal flooding possible, especially during high tides.
The five-day forecast from the National Hurricane Center predicts the center of the storm will shadow the East Coast in the coming days, with Sandy potentially making landfall as a tropical storm in New Jersey the day before Halloween.
Sandy also claimed two lives before reaching Cuba.
A woman in western Haiti's Camp-Perrin died Wednesday when she tried to cross a flooding river in the Ravine du Sud, according to Haitian news agency AHP.
And CNN affiliate TV J reported a man in Jamaica was killed when he was hit by a boulder sent tumbling downhill by the storm's rain.
In the Dominican Republic, Misael Rincon, a CNN iReporter, couldn't sleep as Sandy's rain beat down on Santo Domingo because he knew his neighborhood is prone to flooding.
He drove to work on Thursday but had to change his route several times as he encountered roads with water levels too high. Even though he drives an SUV, a blue Ford Explorer, he was not high enough off the ground to avoid having water seep into his vehicle.
"I'd say 70% of the streets in Santo Domingo are flooded," he said.
Some cars were submerged, and people with trucks were charging motorists $5 to pull their vehicles to higher ground, he said. There were some good Samaritans, too.
The government ordered evacuations of high-risk zones and canceled schools.