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Red Cross Issues Rip Current Safety Tips


Powerful storms are churning in the Atlantic Ocean, increasing the risk of powerful rip currents along the East Coast over the next few days. The American Red Cross advises anyone visiting eastern shore points to swim only on lifeguard-protected beaches, within the designated swimming areas.

Hurricane Danielle is a Category Four storm moving through the Atlantic with winds blowing as strong as 135 mph. Tropical Storm Earl is about 1,300 miles behind the hurricane with winds as high as 45 mph, with the possibility of strengthening into a hurricane over the weekend. Both storms are far from land, moving in a north-northwest direction.

Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation's beaches every year, and for most rescues performed by beach lifeguards. The greatest safety precaution you can take is to know the danger of rip currents, and always swim at beaches with lifeguards. If you are caught in a rip current, remember the following:

  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Never fight against the current.
  • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats - a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball. Yell instructions on how to escape the current. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

As summer winds to a close, many will squeeze in one more visit to the beach. For more information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe during your shore trip, visit www.redcross.org.