The following is a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
The Coast Guard advises swimmers, beachgoers and mariners to exercise extreme caution while at beaches off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina due to the increased possibility of rip currents caused by Hurricane Joaquin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that South Carolina and Florida account for 19 of the 34 nationwide rip current deaths so far in 2015.
"Rip currents are a dangerous phenomenon that intensify when a hurricane is looming and I urge experienced swimmers and the general public to exercise caution when swimming at the beach," said Captain Mark Fedor, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th District. "Doing so could save your life, or the lives of your loved ones."
A rip current is a powerful channel of water that flows quickly away from shore caused by strong waves and winds. They often occur at low spots or breaks in the sandbar. Any object or person caught in a rip current can be pulled out into deeper seas.
If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. The way to escape a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, you will be able to swim back to the beach with less resistance. Do not attempt to swim directly against the current, as you can become easily exhausted, even if you are a strong swimmer.