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Summer Safety: What To Do In A Rip Current

Tips from Jersey Shore lifeguards on how to get out of a rip current safely.

Water temperatures are warmer this month than they have been in the past three Junes. For Senior Lifeguard Daniel Desantos, this means that him and all other lifeguards need to aware of more people visiting the shore and getting into the water.

“I’ve worked as a lifeguard at Seaside for seven years. I’ve learned that we always have to be alert, whether the water is calm like today or if it is hurricane like,” Desantos said.

After the loss of life at and last week, lifeguards have been on high alert watching out for rip currents and swimmers who may be trapped in them.

One of the biggest tips that every lifeguard spoke of was the same: Only go swimming when lifeguards are on duty.

However, at 6 p.m. lifeguards at Seaside Park go off-duty and at 7 p.m., lifeguards in Seaside Heights go off-duty. As soon as the lifeguards are off the beach, swimmers are back in the ocean, and some even go as far out as roughly 75 feet.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, the United States Lifesaving Association says to follow a number of steps to escape:

  • Yell for help immediately.
  • Don’t swim against the rip current—it will just tire you out.
  • Escape the rip current by swimming parallel to the beach until you are free.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water.
  • When out of the current, swim toward the shore at an angle away from the rip current.

“Swim in front of a lifeguard. Ask questions. If you get stuck, swim parallel, or go out past the break and wait for help,” Desantos said. “Don’t panic.”

Sal Petoia June 25, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Gave up going to the ocean many years ago. Too many negatives… pollution, red tide, brown tide, green head flies, rip tides, undertows, too crowded, hot sand, access fees, parking costs and debris, not to mention the potential for sunburn and windburn. For those who choose to tolerate all that, have fun.
George June 25, 2012 at 04:34 PM
The bay? How about the jellyfish there? They should call stinging sea nettles "bay nettles" too.
kathy June 25, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Guess leaving the Jersey Shore wasn't such a bad idea after all. I would like to take a Quick dip one last time though
none of yobusiness June 26, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Heres a thought if your from a north jersey city learn how to swim from a certified instructor.Also learn to respect the power of the ocean. Its not a coincidence that all of the local drowning victims hailed from towns away from the shore.
Gary Parent July 24, 2012 at 02:51 PM
The ocean is like that crazy girlfriend we've had or hear about. When it's good it is blow your mind good, but when its bad she'll hit you hard, hold your head under the water and almost drown you.

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