NWS Jacksonville » Rip Currents
|Rip Current Safety Tips|
|When at the Beach
• Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
• Never swim alone.
• Learn how to swim in the surf. It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
• Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
• Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
• Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
• Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
• Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
If Caught in a Rip Current
• Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
• Never fight against the current.
• Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
• Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle- away from the current- towards shore.
• If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
• If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
• 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- a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
• Yell instructions on how to escape.
• Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.