Have FUN at the beach- play SAFE always!

The summer started off well with few rescues and no drowning. Sadly, that changed in the past couple weeks. Rip currents can happen any time and unexpectedly too. They are formed by normal wave action when the receding wave flow becomes concentrated in one place. Most often this is caused by a near shore sandbar. Sandbars can quickly form with normal wave and tide action. Most often these sandbars will top out just under the surface. As the waves and tides work a break in the bar may occur or the receding water may quickly wash over a low area of the bar. The result is a strong current washing over the bar and pulling the water out to sea beyond the bar. A rip current may only last several minutes or could last several hours. Strong rip currents disrupt incoming waves and stir up sand from the ocean floor.

When you’re at the beach, keep an eye out for narrow, muddy streaks in the ocean where there aren’t any waves breaking.Most people panic when caught in a rip while swimming the ocean. DO NOT PANIC. The rip is pulling you out with greater force than you can swim against. Fighting the rip is a waste of energy. Try to swim parallel to the beach. If the force to too great allow the rip to pull you beyond the bar where the force will dissipate quickly, then swim parallel to the beach before turning toward shore.It is also a great idea to stay away from piers that extend out into the ocean.To survive any trouble in the water, you have to keep calm, and you have to save energy. Never wait to call for help or signal others on the beach. The sooner help arrives the better chance you and the help will survive. If you notice someone in trouble do not rush in to help. Notify the life guard, beach patrol, and others on the beach. Do not attempt to rescue alone. Two that drowned recently died after saving others.

Always take a life jacket, surf board, or other floatation device to assist you and the person in trouble.Six people were rescued from rip currents yesterday at Myrtle Beach. Several drowned last week including a young girl rescued several days before. She died of ‘secondary drowning’ or of complications of near drowning. Even if you get to shore after a difficult time in the water it is best to get checked out at the hospital. The young girl went to the hospital where she died. Come to the beach, have fun, play safe, and go home healthy so you can visit again!

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