NOAA and Partners Urge Beach-Goers to Break the Grip of the Rip

Contact:          Susan Buchanan                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                        301-713-0623, ext. 110                       June 4, 2010
With summer vacation on the horizon, NOAA, the United States Lifesaving Association, and the National Park Service are alerting beach-goers to the threat of rip currents and how to prevent drowning from their strong and potentially fatal grip.
Rip currents are the leading near-shore surf hazard, claiming more than 100 lives per year nationally. For that reason, the three organizations are teaming up to sponsor the Rip Current Awareness Campaign from June 6 through 12, with the theme Break the Grip of the Rip®.
Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that can pull swimmers away from the shore. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents are surprisingly strong and swift.
“Each year, America’s surf beach lifeguards rescue more than 50,000 swimmers from rip currents,” according to B. Chris Brewster, president of the United States Lifesaving Association. “Swimming at a guarded beach can reduce your chances of drowning to one-in-18 million.”
 NOAA’s National Weather Service forecast offices issue surf zone forecasts, which include rip current information during the summer beach season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is important to remember though that rip currents can occur anywhere there is surf.
"Before going into the water, check the rip current outlook, and know how to escape a rip current's grip," said Dr. Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “It can save your life.”
“Every year, more than 75 million visitors come to swim, fish, snorkel, scuba dive, boat and enjoy the wildlife and majestic scenery in our coastal national parks,” said Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “To enhance our ability to provide visitors with the latest information on water safety, we are pleased to team up with NOAA and the United States Lifeguarding Association to educate our visitors about water safety.”
Here are some safety tips about rip currents you should keep in mind:
Swim at a beach with lifeguard protection
Look for signs and flags posted to warn about rip currents
Don’t swim against a rip current
Escape rip currents by swimming in a direction following the shoreline until you are free of the rip current
If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water…when out of the current, swim towards the shore
Never swim alone
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NOTE: Break the Grip of the Rip is a registered trademark of NOAA.

On the Web:
NOAA Rip Current information:
United States Lifesaving Association:
National Park Service:

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