What to do if caught in a rip current

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office is assisting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to raise awareness about the dangers of rip currents during Rip Current Awareness Week, June 1-7, 2014.

The following information was released by the sheriff's office:

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and beyond the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves. The greatest safety precaution is to recognize the danger of rip currents and always remember to swim at beaches with lifeguards.

 If caught in a rip current:

  • Remain calm.
  • Never fight against the current.
  • 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.

Each year the first full week of June has been designated by NOAA as Rip Current Awareness Week.

The Georgetown County Sheriff's Office will be promoting Rip Current Awareness Week by raising the publics' awareness of the dangers of rip currents and how to survive a rip current if caught in one through the Georgetown County Sheriff's Beach Patrol Unit.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, sheriff's deputies assigned to the Beach Patrol Unit will be patrolling the beaches of Garden City and Litchfield. The unit's mission is to ensure the public is utilizing Georgetown County's natural resources in a responsible manner. In addition to the unit's mission, during the first week in June and throughout the summer season sheriff's deputies will be speaking to the citizens and visitors on the beaches of Georgetown County about rip currents and handing out brochures.

The brochures, obtained through NOAA, are titled "Break the Grip of the Rip" and include information from the definition of rip currents to facts and safety tips. For more information on rip currents, visit NOAA's website at http://ripcurrents.noaa.gov/.

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