NWS: Rip currents will be potentially “life-threatening” to anyone who enters ocean Saturday

    There’s a high risk of rip current development along the New Jersey coastline Saturday, forecasters say. 

    A high risk of rip currents means dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions exist for all people entering the surf.

    The National Weather Service says the risk is high because of a long period swell and increasing seas. Low tides will occur between approximately 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and again from around 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

    Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the shore, often occurring in low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties, and piers.

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    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.

    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 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.

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