Stay safe in the water
Rip currents are dangerous, even for strong, experienced swimmers.
When at the beach:
Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
Never swim alone.
Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
If caught in a rip current:
Stay calm, conserve energy and think clearly.
Never fight the current.
Swim out of the current perpendicular the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle -- away from the current -- towards shore.
If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:
Get help from a lifeguard.
If there is no lifeguard, have someone call 9-1-1.
Throw the rip current victim something that floats -- a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
Beach flags convey different warnings:
Double Red: Beach is closed to the public
Single Red: high hazard, e.g., strong surf or currents
Yellow: medium hazard
Green: Calm conditions although caution is still necessary
Purple: Flown with either Red or Yellow: Dangerous marine life, but not sharks.
Source: National Weather Service