Surf City Lifeguards Pull Five From Rip Current

Jun 21, 2017

Surf City lifeguards safely pulled five beachgoers from a rip current on the Ninth Street beach during the first day of being back on duty – the same weekend that saw four drowning deaths elsewhere at the Jersey Shore.

“They got pulled into a rip, and it was a perilous situation for a few minutes,” Beach Patrol Capt. Mark Dileo said of the June 17 rescue, which occurred about 1 p.m. “The lifeguards responded quickly and got everyone out of the water safely. EMS was called to check them out just to make sure they were OK.”

The best way to handle a rip current is to avoid them, he said. If that’s not possible, Dileo said, always swim between the flags and as soon as you drift near the flag, get out of the water and walk to the other flag before going back into the water.

“Don’t try to swim or walk against the current,” he said. “The lifeguards position the flags to avoid rips and other hazardous water as much as possible.”

If an individual is caught in a rip, the key thing to remember is to stay calm, Dileo said. Fighting and panicking won’t do anything but sap energy.

“Wave and shout for help. If you have the energy, swim parallel to shore (perpendicular to the rip) until it is not pulling you out anymore, then swim to shore,” he said. “If you are very tired, let it take you out, as it will eventually dissipate. Then swim to shore, or wait for the lifeguard and swim in a location where there is no rip.”

Dileo said rips can generally be identified by the white foam on the water moving out to sea, and there generally aren’t as many waves breaking in the rip area.

“Water is coming onto the beach with the breaking waves and ‘draining’ out to sea via the rip currents, which are usually located between the sandbars,” he explained. “This is why rips are often referred to as ‘drains’ as well.” —G.G.S.

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