Surfer rescues swimmer caught in rip current off N.J. beach

(Phil Gregory/WHYY file photo)

(Phil Gregory/WHYY file photo)

A quick-thinking surfer rescued a swimmer in distress off a Monmouth County beach late Wednesday morning.

Emergency rescue units were dispatched to the Washington Avenue beach in Avon on a report of a swimmer in distress, according to the spokesperson for the Area Network of Shore Water Emergency Responders (ANSWER) Team, a volunteer organization that responds to water incidents.

Arriving police observed a surfer assisting the swimmer onto the beach, the spokesperson said. The swimmer was reportedly caught in a rip current and quickly pulled out.

The swimmer was treated on scene by emergency medical personnel as a precaution, according to the ANSWER team.

Authorities have not identified the surfer or swimmer.

The National Weather Service advised of a moderate risk of rip current development Wednesday due to a long period swell.

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.

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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