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How to spot and escape a rip current at San Diego beaches

High Surf Warnings Issued For Southern California
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 19:52:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Do you know how to survive a rip current? The common occurrence at San Diego beaches accounts for 80 percent of all rescues, the U.S. Lifesaving Association reports.

Rip currents are currents of water that flow out from shore, potentially pulling swimmers and surfers away from land, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

63 people in California died in rip currents between 1999 and 2013, second only to Florida in fatalities. You can greatly increase your chances of survival by swimming at a beach with lifeguards, the USLA says. The odds of drowning while swimming at a USLA-affiliated lifeguard protected beach is 1 in 18 million, the group claims.

Anyone in the water - or thinking about getting into the water - should look for a gap of seemingly calm water between areas of breaking waves, a difference in water color, or a line of foam or debris moving out to sea.

What to do if you’re caught in a rip current:

*Don’t try to swim against the current

*Swim parallel to the shoreline before trying to head back in to the beach

*Float or tread water if the current circulates back toward the shore

*If you can’t make it back to shore, yell and wave for help

Lifeguards also encourage you to call 911 or get help from a professional. Many people have died trying to rescue rip current victims, NOAA experts say.

Need more information? NOAA has an online training program called Break the Grip of the Rip.