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:

  1. a channel of churning, choppy water;
  2. an area with a noticeable difference in color;
  3. a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily out to sea;
  4. and/or a break in the incoming wave pattern.

If you get caught in one:

  1. Stay calm, don’t fight the current.
  2. 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:

  1. Float or calmly tread water. The rip current will eventually fade.
  2. 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:

  1. Get a lifeguard or call 911.
  2. Yell instructions.
  3. 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.



 

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