A Wake County teen remained in critical condition Sunday while officials suspended the search for another after they were caught in a rip current.
The Daily News recently reached out to North Topsail Beach public information officer Carin Faulkner for information about rip currents. She said NTB Town Hall has a number of safety brochures for beachgoers as well as informational posts on its social media sites.
“Because of the higher population of people coming here and more activities happening on the island itself, we want to make sure visitors here understand the rules of the beach,” she said.
Here are a few facts about them, gathered from National Weather Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
1. Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that occur at any beach with breaking waves and most often near structures such as piers, jetties and sand bars, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These currents can flow up to eight feet per second, or about two to five miles per hour.
2. How do I recognize a rip current?
One visual identifier of a rip current is a calm gap between waves in the surf or discolored water near the shore. Rip currents kick up and often move large amounts of sand and sediment in their stream, often noticeable by a jet of sediment in the water extending away from the shore.
3. Where do rip currents occur?
Rip currents most often occur in areas with sand bars, piers, jetties, groins and even docks.
4. If I’m caught in a rip current, how should I react?
Don’t panic. The average lifespan of a rip current is only two to four minutes and they often fade beyond the breaking waves. Instead, tread water and stay calm. Swim parallel to the beach to escape.
5. What should I do if I see a distressed swimmer in a rip current?
Immediately call 911. Swimmers can be distressed for a number of reasons including medical, lack of swimming skills or a rip current. Emergency medical services will be dispatched to the distressed swimmers location and be able to rescue the swimmer and perform any needed life saving measures.
Reporter Naomi Whidden can be reached at Naomi.Whidden@JDNews.com or 910-219-8474.