The U.S. Lifesaving Association warns rip currents are the leading surf hazard to beachgoers can occur at any beach with breaking waves.
The association tells swimmer to avoid any area that shows signs of rip currents.
Officials from the association share the signs of rip currents. They include a channel of churning, choppy water, an area of water with a notable color difference, a break in the wave patterns and a line of foam and seaweed and debris moving steadily out to sea.
“Swimming at a lifeguard-monitored beach is the best way to stay safe,” said Katherine Cleary, aquatics supervisor with Pinellas County. She continues, “When conditions indicate rip currents may occur, we put up warning flags or in some cases close beaches to swimming altogether.”
Officials say if you are caught in a rip current, remain calm, swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline or float and tread water until out of the current. Once you are out of the current swim towards shore. If you are unable to reach shore draw attention and yell for help.