This information could save your life.
NOAA recommends that you memorize these five words: “always swim near a lifeguard.”
Here’s how to identify a rip current:
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.
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:
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.