Davy Jones' Locker claimed two East Enders this past weekend. Both men were able swimmers, but the combination of rip tides and ensuing panic proved too strong. When I was getting my waterfront lifeguard certification, rip tides were one of the biggest stress points -how to predict and identify them, as well as how best to rescue those less in the know.
Right now we're in the middle of prime storm and hurricane season, and rip tides are a certain accompaniment, so even if you're an excellent swimmer, don't stray far off the shore. If you do, and you feel something gently pushing you, or you suddenly notice that you're much further from your towel than you'd thought, do not swim against the current, or try to head in. Instead, start swimming parallel to the shore, slowly (breaststroke is your best bet, as you can see where you're going), so you don't get tired.
Go past where you started before swimming in to safety. Happy beaching, and please be cautious!
[Image via National Weather Service]