What to do if you're caught in a rip current.
If caught in a rip current:
Never panic. Try to float by lying on your back and by treading water. It’s important to remember that it’s easier to float than it is to remain perpendicular.
Don’t fight the current by trying to swim against it. If necessary, ride it out. Remember, the strength and energy of a rip current will eventually dissipate.
Swim parallel or at an angle to shore until you feel the current weakening.
Once the current weakens, swim toward shore in a relaxed manner while trying to breathe normally and not hyperventilate.
If lifeguards are visible, wave your arms and yell for help.
Spot the rip current
Rip currents are sometimes difficult to spot. However, with the aid of some basic information and a little practice, even a lay person can learn how to identify and avoid being caught in a rip current. Some of the rip current indicators include the following:
Choppy or “excited” water that is located in a channel.
Flotsam (debris) usually moving away from the beach.
Discolored or murky water allowing for the identification of a distinct channel (neck) that terminates offshore.
If you observe an individual caught in a rip current:
Look for the nearest lifeguard to get help.
If a lifeguard is not immediately available, dial 911.
Look for a flotation device, i.e. a lifesaving ring at a nearby swimming pool, raft, basketball, cooler, etc. Wade to knee deep water and toss flotation device to victim. Try to throw object in front of swimmer. Don’t toss object behind or to the side of victim.
Look for a reaching object, e.g. rope, pole, or a long tree branch and use to reach victim.
Look for other individuals and form a human chain, but only attempt this maneuver with competent and experienced swimmers.
Attempt a swimming rescue only as a last resort and only if you are a strong and experience swimmer with confidence in your rescuing abilities.