New warning over rip current risk at Jersey shore

JERSEY SHORE, New Jersey (WABC) -- The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is warning Jersey Shore-goers that the risk of rip currents has increased significantly.
A rip current is a strong channel of water flowing away from the beach that poses a danger to swimmers, and all swimming, body boarding and surfing should be within sight of the lifeguards.

When the tide is low in the evening, the risk will escalate, according the OEM. As the wind turns south and increases, the surf height also will rise in the afternoon.

According to the United States Lifeguard Association, rip currents account for 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards. Before entering the water, look for:
--Frothy, choppy waves
--Break in wave pattern
--Different color in one area compared to the rest of the water
Also, stay out of the ocean if there is no lifeguard on duty.

Never try to swim against the rip current. It tires swimmers out and increases the risk of drowning.
When stuck in a rip current:
--Do not panic
--Do not fight the current. Instead, swim parallel to shore. Then swim at an angle away from rip current toward shore.
--If stuck in a rip current, float. The rip current will pull away from the shore, but it does not pull swimmers underwater.
--Draw attention by waving and yelling for help.
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