“The Grip of the Rip,” NOAA’s informative rip current video, tells you all you need to know about staying safe while swimming. Some highlights:
Rip currents can be really hard to spot, so exercise caution if you see the following:
- a channel of churning, choppy water;
- an area with a noticeable difference in color;
- a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily out to sea;
- and/or a break in the incoming wave pattern.
If you get caught in one:
- Stay calm, don’t fight the current.
- Swim sideways out of the current and parallel to the shore, then at an angle back to the shore.
If you can’t escape it:
- Float or calmly tread water. The rip current will eventually fade.
- Try to face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
If you see someone caught in one, DO NOT try to rescue them yourself, instead:
- Get a lifeguard or call 911.
- Yell instructions.
- And if possible, throw a life preserver or floatation device.
The page also has some helpful links to rip current and NOAA’s radio station.