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How to protect yourself against rip currents
3 p.m., June 6, 2005
If you are caught in a rip current:
- Stay calm--dont fight the current.
- Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--toward shore.
- If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
- If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: Face the shore, call or wave for help.
How do I help someone else?
- Don’t become a victim while trying to help someone else! Many people have died in efforts to rescue rip current victims. Get help from a lifeguard.
- If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape.
- If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats.
- Call 9-1-1 for further assistance.
Before leaving for the beach:
- Check the latest surf zone forecast on NOAA Weather Radio or online. During beach seasons, a number of National Weather Service offices issue a rip current outlook.
When you arrive at the beach:
- Speak with on-duty lifeguards about rip currents as well as other surf conditions expected for the day.
General safety tips:
- Know how to swim.
- For maximum safety, swim near a lifeguard. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
- Be cautious at all times.
- If in doubt, don’t go out!
- Never swim alone.
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