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What to do if you find yourself in a rip current

Posted at 5:13 PM, Apr 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 19:48:28-04

 

Anyone who has lived in Corpus Christi for awhile knows the surf on our gulf beaches can be dangerous, especially when there are rip currents in place.

In the wake of yesterday’s disappearance of an 18-year-old King High School student, the county’s Coastal Parks Department wants to remind people about the dangers in the surf.

Surf conditions are far worse today than they were yesterday.

And when it’s like this, swimmers are warned not to go out too deep into the water because what happened yesterday can happen to anyone.

“It is that dangerous,” Scott Cross, director of the Coastal Parks Department, said. ”It can happen just like that.”

Rip currents are a natural part of the open water.

It is a strong, narrow current of water that’s created when the surf rushes back out to sea. But they are not to be taken lightly. And the Coastal Parks Department has taken steps to keep people informed about their dangers.

“We have warning signs out there,” Cross said. “We’ve got the warning flags system that we put out, yellow red green.”

Red means danger. Yellow means caution. Green means you’re good to go.

And the signs are everywhere.

“At the restrooms, the piers, the parking lots,” Cross said.

Still, some people take their chances.

So, if you’re caught in a rip current, the key is to stay calm.

“You can survive a rip current if you don’t panic,” Cross said. “Stay calm and you know to swim parallel to the beach. Do not try to overpower it because you are not going to.”

If you try swimming towards the beach, this will only cause you to tire out.

“Mother nature does not play at all,” Cross said.

And the Coastal Parks Department urges anyone who visits, whether they’re from out of town or a long-time beachgoer, to do the proper planning beforehand.

“Figure out what your surf conditions are, look at the warning signs and if you have any questions, call,” Cross said.

All of the information about water conditions and rip current conditions can found on the National Weather Service web page, Cross said.

And there’s also some advice if you’ve ever in a situation where you spot a swimmer having trouble out in the water.

Cross says you should immediately look for a lifeguard.