A tropical cyclone’s strong winds can cause dangerous waves and deadly rip currents. People who will be along the coast should be aware of possible rip currents – even if they are far away from a storm.
According to the National Hurricane Center, rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, usually extending past the line of breaking waves, that can pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, even on large lakes.
Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
1. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
2. If you plan to swim in the ocean, swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area.
3. If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic.
4. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance.
5. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.
6. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
7. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
8. Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
9. 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 rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape. It’s important to know that people can drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.
10.View this Red Cross video for more rip current safety information.