What are rip currents? Here's what to do if you are caught in one

When caught in a rip current, swimmers are pulled far from the beach – not pulled under the water.

Gillian Neff and Rose Shannon

Jun 29, 2024, 2:14 PM

Updated 23 days ago

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Rip currents along the shore can be dangerous if swimmers are not prepared for them. They have already claimed 19 lives in the U.S. this year.
When caught in a rip current, swimmers are pulled far from the beach – not pulled under the water.
"They just kind of pull you away from shore," says Gregory Dusek, a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service.
Dusek tells News 12 that if you are caught in a current, it's important not to panic.
"I know that sounds counterintuitive. People want to try to get back to shore but you want to relax and float," he says.
Dusek says swimmers should not exhaust themselves trying to swim against the current. Swimmers should swim parallel to the beach until the ocean does not feel like it has a pull of you.
Once that happens, people should swim back to shore at an angle and let the waves push them back in.
Lifeguards and first responders say people should only go in the water if there is a lifeguard on duty.
The National Weather Service says there is rip current warning in effect through Sunday evening for areas along the Long Island Sound, including Brooklyn and Nassau and Suffolk counties.


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