How to spot, avoid, escape rip currents

     In this NOAA photo, the rip current is surging seaward in the area between the red arrows.

    In this NOAA photo, the rip current is surging seaward in the area between the red arrows.

    This comprehensive rip current safety information could save your life.

    Can you spot a rip current? Study the above National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) photo.

    Look for any of these clues, courtesy of NOAA:

    * 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.

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    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.

    Your first line of defense is to check the surf forecast before you head to the beach. NOAA updates the forecast daily.

    In the meantime, watch this informative NOAA video on rip current safety.

    If caught in a rip current, NOAA advises:

    * 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 angleaway 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.

    Comprehensive rip current safety information is posted on Jersey Shore Hurricane News every Friday.

    Stay safe out in the water!

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