CHARLOTTE, N.C. - If you're heading to the beach this summer, be aware of rip currents. The unpredictable waves claimed two lives on the North Carolina coast over the weekend while the number of rescues has risen into the dozens.
Ame Guy, the YMCA Aquatics Director in Charlotte, says rip currents are a real problem on the coast.
"Rip currents are going to account for eighty percent of our waterfront, beachfront lifeguards' rescues," said Guy.
Lifeguard Jordan East has seen a sharp rise in the number of rescues. She encourages people to be vigilant of conditions before heading to the beach.
"Make sure you check the forecast, the rip forecast," said East. "Be aware of your surroundings."
While they can be easily spotted, they can also appear in a splash while you're swimming.
"There's no way to detect them," said Guy. "So you won't know how to avoid them."
Avoiding the unavoidable, it's best to learn what to do when caught in a rip current. They don't have to be deadly or even dangerous.
Guy says the three things you should do:
1. Don't panic, stay calm.
2. Turn over to your back and float.
3. Try to get someone's attention by waving and if unsuccessful, then ride the wave or swim with the current (parallel to shore) until you quit feeling resistance.
While there's no riptide to ride in a pool, Guy says to take caution in water parks.
"If you're going down any type of slide, you could see the same thing at a wave pool," said Guy. "Go with the current, swim along side the pool."
While the ocean can be deadly, staying calm in a rip current is the only way to ensure your safety.
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