SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - As the weather continues to warm up, many locals and visitors alike will be heading down to the beaches to enjoy some fun in the sun. Though the water is a great way to cool off, it can also feature dangerous rip currents. Governor Pat McCrory announced the week of June 8-12 to be Rip Current Awareness Week to further inform and educate the public of these beach hazards.
Rip currents are channeled current of water moving away from shore that are most typically found at breaks in sandbars and near jetties and piers. Most rip current end just beyond the line of breaking waves, but others may continue for several hundred yards. Rip currents can pull a person out at speeds up to eight feet per second, which is faster than many Olympic swimmers.
If you find yourself inside of a rip current, the first thing to remember is to not panic. Relax and float to conserve your energy. Do not try to swim straight back to shore; swim parallel to the shore until you escape the current's pull. Once you are free from the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
If you feel cannot swim back to shore after being pulled out, face the shore and call for help.
Rip currents are the number one beach hazard and have been the cause of 105 fatalities along the Carolina coast since 2000.
Copyright 2015 WECT. All rights reserved.