Rip Currents Can Be Deadly—This Chart Shows Exactly What to Do If You Ever Get Caught In One

The sooner you share this post, the sooner you can save someone's life.

Courtesy National Sea Rescue InstituteThe tide at the beach is constantly changing throughout the day and getting caught up in the current can be fatal. As the tide changes from high to low the water is taken out to sea through the incoming waves in a river, this process is called a rip current. And the force of that movement can very easily take a human out to sea with it. (Make sure you also know these other beach safety tips to keep you and your family safe.)

These temporary rip currents are found along the shoreline of the beach and are very unpredictable of when and where they will form. Beach goers who are swimming along the shore or even just wading in the water are at risk of being swept away in the current.

The most important thing to remember is to not panic. Don’t try to fight the current, instead move with it. The National Sea Rescue Institute displays how you should escape the current in this simple chart. Stay afloat by treading water and allowing the current to take you out to sea. When you feel an opportunity to swim parallel to the shoreline, do so in order to escape the current. Then swim safely back to shore. If you have the extra energy, scream for help and wave your arms as you are being pulled out so that lifeguards or fellow beach goers will know that you need help.

To avoid getting pulled into a rip current in the first place try to swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and pay attention to their markers on the beach indicating what areas are safe to swim in. Make sure you also know these other secrets lifeguards wish you knew before going to the beach.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Senior Production Editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She works with our Production Coordinators to keep content moving and make sure that things are working well behind the scenes for all our digital sites. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.