Officials warn of rip current dangers

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM.

For those headed to beaches in the area, the NWS offices in Newport and Wilmington provide beach and surf hazard forecast, including a rip current forecast issued twice daily.

The late afternoon forecast put out Monday shows a moderate rip current risk for today along the beach from Cape Lookout to Bogue Banks and from Bogue Inlet to Surf City, including Hammocks Beach and North Topsail Beach.

Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. According to NWS information, they typically form at breaks in sandbars and also near structures such as jetties and piers. And while they can happen any time, they are more likely around low tide.

Break the Grip of the Rip brochures and educational materials were developed to help inform beachgoers of what to do if caught in a rip current.

Don’t fight against the current, Cole said.

Rather, swim in a direction parallel to shore and once out of the current, swim at an angle toward shore.

“A lot of people panic and swim against the current, but rip currents are very strong,” he said.

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