Beach safety: What to do if caught in a rip tide

Beach safety: What to do if caught in a rip tide

Summer is here, and your News 12 Storm Watch team of meteorologists wants to keep you safe and weather aware when you’re heading to the beach. There are several beach hazards that you need to be aware of before going to the beach. One of the most dangerous beach hazards are rip currents. Rip currents are intense, quick-moving waves moving away from the shore at beaches. 
When there is a risk for moderate to high rip currents, the National Weather Service sends out rip current statements to keep the public aware. To avoid getting caught in a rip current, try to swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel to the current. This will allow more time for a rescue or to swim back to shore once the current eases. However, the best way to survive a rip current is to float and yell for help so that a lifeguard can spot you.
Rip currents can take even the strongest swimmer away from the shore. A scientific review of data provided to the United States Lifesaving Association found that there are over 100 deaths each year in the U.S. caused by rip currents. Rip currents account for over 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards.
If you’re heading to the beach this summer, check out these three tips: 
  1. Check water conditions before going in by looking at the local beach forecast or check in with your local meteorologist on air or online for the latest beach forecast.
  2. Don’t assume! Great weather for the beach does not always mean it’s safe to swim or even play in the water. Rip currents often form on calm, sunny days. 
  3. Always swim near a lifeguard and never swim alone.
Your News 12 Storm Watch team of meteorologists has you covered all summer for any hazards that may impact your beach day.