Myrtle Beach Vacation Guide

Delaware Beaches | Ocean City MD | Virginia Beach, VA | Outer Banks, NC - Myrtle Beach Vacation Guide

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Grand Strand Days Inn Myrtle Beach South Carolina - Across from the Beach


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Ocean Rip Currents

Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. On average, more people die every year from rip currents than from shark attacks, tornadoes, lightning or hurricanes. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are attributed to rip currents, and more than 100 people die annually from drowning when they are unable to escape a rip current.

Rip currents can attain speeds as high as 8 feet per second. This is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint! Some rip currents last for a few hours; others are permanent. Rip currents range from 50 to 100 feet or more in width. They can extend up to 1000 feet offshore.

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.


More Information:
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Rip Currents - Break The Grip of The Rip!™


Know how to swim! Never swim alone, swim in groups and avoid secluded beaches.

Always swim where a lifeguard can see you and in areas that are marked for swimmers to use.

Wear protective footwear if surfaces are rough or rocky.

Don't swim out too far.

Never pretend to be drowning. The lifeguard may take you seriously.

Don't swim close to piers - those big, wooden structures that jut out into the water. If the water moves suddenly, you could hit a piling or a rock.

Store drinks in plastic containers at the beach - broken glass bottles and bare feet don't mix.

Face the waves, instead of turning your back on them. Then you'll know what's coming.

Know the signs of a rip current, be on the lookout and warn others if you see a rip current.