Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials remind beach visitors to exercise caution this spring break season, as rip currents remain a familiar occurrence. Those planning beach activities should be aware that when red flags are flying, swimming in Florida’s coastal waters can be dangerous.
Floridians can check their local rip current outlook at www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov. Before you leave for the beach, check the latest National Weather Service forecast at www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov for local beach conditions.
If caught in a rip current: DON’T PANIC. Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly. NEVER swim against the rip current. Stay afloat and signal for help.
Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle – away from the current – towards shore.
If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water.
Draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and shout for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don’t become a victim too: Get help from a lifeguard, or if one is unavailable have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the rip current victim something that floats – a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.