What to do if you're caught in a rip current

What to do if you're caught in a rip current

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A warning if you're hitting the beach this summer -- rip currents could be a problem. Rip currents can carry away even strong swimmers, so don't take chances when red flags are up and/or life guards aren't on duty.

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes.

Rip currents can be killers. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on our nation's beaches exceeds 100. Rip currents account for over 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards.

If you are caught in a rip current, here are some tips:

Don't fight the current; this will exhaust you and put you in peril

Swim parallel to shore to get out of the current and then swim to shore

If you can't escape, float or tread water

If you need help, wave or yell to get someone's attention

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LINKS:

Break the Grip of the Rip online course

NWS rip current information

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