Avoid trouble in the water

July 7, 2013 

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

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