WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Thanks to Tropical Colin the rip current risk ran high along the southeast North Carolina coast over the weekend. As a result lifeguards along area beaches reported numerous water rescues.
Many of these rescues could have been avoided if people knew what to do if they are caught in a rip current. The first tip is unless you are an experienced swimmer of surfer you should stay out of the water on days where the rip current risk is high. During the summer the National Weather Service office in Wilmington puts out a Surf Forecast. http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issued by=ILM&product=SRF&format=TXT&version=1&glossary=1 This forecast tells you about the rip current risk each day along with other vital coastal information. It also recommenced that you only swim at beaches with active duty lifeguards.
If you do get caught in a rip current don't panic. Let the current carry you out. After this has happened you should turn yourself parallel to the beach and swim the length of one beach house. This should get you well away from the current and you should at this point be able to make your way back to the shore. Rip currents tend to be most numerous near low tide.
With hurricane season ramping up over the next month it is very likely we'll have more days with a high rip current risk. It is estimated that eighty percent of water rescues can be tied to rip currents. On average over 100 deaths occur annually on the nation's beaches.