As peak hurricane season is upon us, the risk of rip currents and rough surf is evident. Local beaches are dealing with an increased risk of rip currents and rough surf through the weekend, and experts are advising those headed out for a last taste of summer to use extra caution.
Last year in the United States, rip currents were third on the list of weather-related fatalities – part of the reason is they are sneaky, or subtle, and can catch the swimmer off guard.
A rip current is a channel of water that flows away from the coastline, usually from a break in the sand bar and the momentum of water moving with the waves.
The most important thing to do when caught in a rip current is to remain calm, since the water is pulling the swimmer out to sea, it is difficult to make progress swimming back to shore. Instead, it’s advised to swim parallel to the shore, this will get the swimmer out of the channel of water where the breaking waves will aid in a safe return to the sand.
Use these tips if caught in distress in a rip current, but it’s always best to check in with the lifeguards and to swim near the lifeguards. No matter how experienced a swimmer is, the ocean will always find a way to win.