Looking to go for a swim today? Take care as you do as there are currently dangerous rip currents being reported by the National Weather Service. Evidence suggests that rip currents will persist throughout the day easing in the afternoon. Anyone looking to go for a morning or afternoon swim should take extra precautions to stay safe.
Rip currents are a risk for swimmers of all skill levels. Even the most advanced swimmer can be caught in the current and carried out to sea. Fighting the current is tough and can lead to exhaustion and potentially death. Consider using indoor swimming pools for your swim today if that option is available for you.
The following areas are affected by high rip currents today:
- Baldwin Coastal
- Mobile Coastal
- Santa Rosa Coastal
- Okaloosa Coastal
- Escambia Coastal
If you are planning to swim in these areas, exercise extra caution when swimming away from the shoreline. The closer you are to shore the less risk you have of being caught in the rip current. While swimming, stay extra vigilant to ensure your safety.
What You Need to Know About Rip Currents
A rip is when the current is so strong that runs out to sea, a strong rip can drag debris and people away from safety and out to deeper water. Most rips will run at around 1-2 miles per hour, however, some have been known to run up to 5 miles per hour.
If you're concerned about the condition of the water, the best thing to do is seek advice from a nearby lifeguard. Spotting a rip can be hard because there aren't always warning signs. One of the best things you can do to keep safe is to attend a lifeguarded beach and stick to swimming between the red and yellow flags.
Flags are used to denote safe spaces to swim when conditions aren't ideal. If you can stick to these areas you will be able to make yourself more visible in case something happens and you need help. Swimming outside of these areas can expose you to more dangerous conditions.
What to Do In the Event of a Rip Current
In the event of you getting caught in a rip you should try to relax as much as possible and try to float instead of swimming against the current. If you try to swim against it, you'll end up exhausting yourself and could make the situation more dangerous.
Check to see if you can stand up where you currently are. If your feet can touch the ground, wading through the water instead of trying to swim, you'll be able to make better progress reaching the shore this way.
Rip currents only cover a portion of the shoreline so if you can try to swim parallel to the shoreline until you are free of the rip. Watch your stamina and don't overexert yourself, take it slow and stay calm.
Lastly, make yourself visible, and ask for help from the lifeguard. Staying within the flags and within the eye-line of the lifeguard will be a great way to stay safe.
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