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Web version of break the grip of the rip
Break the Grip of the Rip®

If you are swimming in the Gulf and feel yourself being pulled out to sea, you may be caught in a rip or longshore current. The best advice is to remain calm to conserve energy. Think clearly and do not fight against the current, as this will cause you to become tired. Even strong or experienced swimmers will become tired if they try to swim against the pull of a rip current. Rip currents do not pull people under the water; they pull people away from shore. Drownings occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat and swim safely back to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills.

A good method for escaping the rip current is to swim parallel to the beach. This will allow a quick escape from the pull of the rip current. Once free, swim gradually back to shore at an angle away from the rip current. If you are unable to escape the current, do not panic. Stay calm, and float or calmly tread water even as the current moves you farther away from shore. Eventually, the effects of the current will dissipate. Once this occurs, swim at an angle back to shore. If you are still unable to get to the beach, draw attention by waving your arms and yelling for help.

Sometimes there may be someone else in trouble because of a rip current. Seek immediate assistance from the beach patrol. If they are not available...call 9–1–1. Find something that can help the rip current victim stay afloat, such as a life jacket, inflatable object, or cooler, and throw it to them. Shout out instructions on how to escape, making sure to tell them to remain calm and not fight against the current. Many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current. Do not let that happen to you.

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