Well folks, it's that time of year again.  Tourists and locals alike are flocking to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach NC -- enjoying the sun, sand and surf.  That beautiful blue-green water is calling our names and nothing feels quite as refreshing as a quick dip or swim in the inviting Atlantic Ocean.

One of the things we all, experienced and novice swimmers alike, need to remember is how to identify a rip current, how to avoid them or, worst case, survive one.  They're out there folks, and you shouldn't rely on luck or a lifeguard to keep you safe.  Not that our lifeguards don't do a fantastic job -- they do!  But why tempt fate when it's so easy to avoid a problem by educating yourself?

First, keep in mind that swimming in the ocean is very different from swimming in a pool.  You may be a heck of a swimmer at the local Y, but the ocean makes her own rules.  Please, please, please don't let children swim out alone.  They are no match for the ocean.  And when you do choose to swim, swim near a lifeguard. 

Learn to identify signs of a rip current.  These signs are not always present, but are often a good indicator.

  • a channel of churning, choppy water
  • an area having a notable difference in water color
  • a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
  • a break in the incoming wave pattern.

Here are a few more tips, including what to do if you are caught in a rip current.

  • Never swim alone.
  • Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don't go out!
  • Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard protected beach.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Don't fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim 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:  face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape.

Have fun at our beaches, but be smart and safe.  That way you can return again and again!

If you're looking to buy or sell a home in Wilmington NC, give me a call.  I’m passionate about my community and helping buyers and sellers achieve their goals! Tish Lloyd Broker/REALTOR® BlueCoast Realty 910.547.1446.Rip Current Safety