Can you spot a rip current? Your first line of defense is to check the surf forecast before you head to the beach.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates the forecast daily.
When you are at the beach, look for:
* A channel of churning, choppy water.
* An area having a notable difference in water color.
* A line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward.
* A break in the incoming wave pattern.
Rip current speeds vary, with an average pull of 1-2 feet per second, but some can move as fast as 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer, according to NOAA.
if you are caught in a rip current;
* Stay calm.
* Don't fight the current.
* Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle—away from the current—toward shore.
If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help.