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Beach Safety: Rip Currents

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The summer is here and it seems like everyone is making the motion towards the ocean. But before you get your feet wet this summer, take a minute to review the lifeguards’ biggest concern: rip currents.

Most swimmers don’t know anything about rip current and consequently, don’t know how to react when caught in one.  Even today, all Southern facing beaches in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are under “High Risk Rip Current” warning but without knowing what it is, what difference does a high risk or low risk make?

Here are some things to keep in mind before hitting the waves:

1. Rip Currents run perpendicular to the beach or shoreline. They are narrow and powerful currents of water that can be sudden and unexpected.

2. Rip Currents happen on the surface of the water and will pull a person’s body out into the ocean, further away from the beach. Although your instinct may be to panic, staying as calm and relaxed as possible will help to keep your body at the surface.

3. Rip Currents occur most often at low spots or breaks in a sandbar.  If you are unsure of what to look for, ask the lifeguard where the safest places to swim are.

Take a few minutes to check out your local weather report before hitting the beach this summer by visiting the National Weather Service.

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