Break the grip of the rip: Rip current awareness week

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TALLAHASSEE (WTXL) -- Rip current awareness week comes to an end this weekend, and we wanted to share with you some tips on how to keep you and your family safe if you're heading to the beach today or later on this summer.

First off, if you're going into the water, it goes without saying that you should know how to swim. Much of the coastline is not under the watchful eyes of life guards. That being said, never swim alone either. 

Sometimes, a rip current can be spotted in the water by the separation of the wave on top of the water, but many times it's tough to see or not capable of being spotted at all.  A rip current is a powerful channel of water moving away from the shoreline.  Even an Olympic swimmer can't swim against a rip current and get out successfully.

But, if you do get caught in one, there's an easy way to "break the grip of the rip," as we like to say.  Swim parallel to the shoreline and once you feel that you aren't being pulled out into the water anymore, then swim back to the coastline.

If you still can't get out using that strategy, tread water and call out for assistance.

Since 2000, rip currents have killed 250 people in Florida.  It's by far the greatest environmental killer in the state.

Keep this in mind when heading to the shoreline this season.  For more information on rip current safety, visit the National Weather Service rip current page here

For the most current beach zone forecast click here.