How to spot a rip current and what do to if you find yourself in one

Rip Currents

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Each year thousands of people get caught in rip currents. In fact the United States Lifesaving Association estimates more than 100 people die annually because of rip currents nationwide.

USLA says rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards and a rip current advisory is currently in effect along the Suncoast until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

NOAA defines a rip current as, “powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents generally form when waves approach normal to the shoreline or at a slight angle. Rip currents can occur at any beaches with breaking waves, including beaches on open oceans and in the Great Lakes and in a Bay.”

If you get caught in a rip current, it is important to do the following:

  • Yell for help but try to stay calm
  • Swim parallel to the current rather than against it.
  • When out of the current, swim toward the shore at an angle away from the rip current.

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