The threat of high rip currents was up along the North Carolina coast over the weekend. Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and also near structures like piers.
Danny Schell with Emerald Isle Beach Patrol says if you’re caught in a rip current, "Remain calm, but that is incredibly difficult to do when you have something pulling you away from beach. The rip will eventually dissipate. Try to ride it out."
Posted warnings, where available, should always be heeded. It is advisable to stay at least 30 m (100 ft) away from piers and jetties, which impede waves, encouraging rip currents to form. Also, check the local newspaper and internet for tide timetables. Beware that tides can be substantially different at beaches relatively close to each other.
Never go into the water without lifeguard supervision from two hours before to four hours after the daily maximum low tide, especially at night. Always swim with a friend and follow all lifeguard warnings or signage. Many beaches contain flags, posted by lifeguards, to signal where the safest area to swim is.
Emerald Isle Beach Patrol says by riding it out you can swim with the wind and the current parallel to the shore until you no longer feel the rip.
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