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Rip currents: a survival guide from NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ‘Ocean Today’, a multimedia feature with the Smithsonian Institution, released a survival guide Wednesday on the dangers of rip currents and what to do if you find yourself in one. Rip currents move at speeds of up to eight feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer, and an estimated 100 people are killed annually by the abnormal water current, according to NOAA. Lifeguards rescue tens of thousands people from rip currents every year.


According to Dr. Greg Dusek, the best thing you can do if caught in a rip current is stay calm. “It’s not going to pull you underwater, it’s just going to pull you away from shore,” Dusek said.

“Call and wave for help. You want to float, and you don’t want to swim back to shore against the rip current because it will just tire you out,” Dusek said. “You want to swim out of the rip, parallel to shore, along the beach and then follow breaking waves back to shore at an angle.”

Other preventative measures include swimming near a lifeguard, asking that lifeguard about whether or not the conditions are hazardous or not and checking local beach conditions and forecasts for wave and tide activity.


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