The American Red Cross advises beachgoers to always swim in designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty. Swimmers should check beach conditions before entering the water and obey all warnings including any for possible rip currents.
Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore and can occur at any beach with breaking waves. They can form in any large open water area, such as low spots, breaks in sandbars and near structures such as jetties and piers. Rip currents are dangerous for everyone – even the strongest swimmers can be pulled away from shore.
The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on our nation’s beaches exceeds 100. Rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues performed by beach lifeguards.
If caught in a rip current, remember the following:
Download this Rip Current Safety infographic and share it with household members and friends.
The free Red Cross Swim App contains drowning prevention and safety tips along with child-friendly games, videos and quizzes. Parents and guardians can also use the app to track their child’s progress during swim lessons.
The Swim App is not a substitute for learning how to swim. A new national survey shows that people believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. While most Americans say they can swim, only about half of them can perform basic swimming skills.
People can contact their local pool, aquatic facility or park and recreation department and ask for Red Cross swim lessons.