Image by NOAAImage by 20080608riptide.jpg The break in the waves is often a sign of rip current. Also, look for posted warning signs before swimming.
Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water. They can take beach goers by surprise and suck them out at speeds over 8 feet per second. (That's faster than an Olympic swimmer.)
But, even if you're caught in one doesn't mean you're a dead man. Don't try to fight the current, instead wait for the current to weaken and swim to the side. Once out of the current, take an alternate path back to land. The National Weather Service offers these tips:
- Don't fight the current.
- Swim out of the current, then to shore.
- If you can't escape, float or tread water.
- If you need help, call or wave from a distance.
Every year 5 to 6 people are rescued at Charleston County Parks, and there have been several fatalities in past years.
Earlier this year it was announced that Folly Beach's front beach was gaining lifeguards.