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What To Do If Caught on a Rip Current

According to the Red Cross, rip currents are responsible for most rescues performed by lifeguards and can form in any large open water area such as low spots and breaks in sandbars.

These are powerful, channeled currents of water that flow away from the shore and can pull even strong swimmers far out to sea. Rip currents typically extend from the shoreline through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves.

Before you head into the water, check the weather and potential hazards. Check the ocean conditions before entering the water and be sure to look out for any warning signs posted. Ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, and potential hazards.

Here are some things to remember if you or someone is caught in a rip current.

Stay calm and don’t fight the current.

Swim parallel to the shore or float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head to shore.

If you can’t make it to shore,
draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.

If someone is in trouble in the water,
do not attempt to rescue them yourself unless you are a trained beach lifeguard. Get help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1.


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