Tips on how to survive a rip current

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. - Three people have died in four days while swimming at beaches in the Outer Banks due to rip currents, according to first responders.

Lifeguards with the Search and Rescue Team in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. tell News 3 rip currents can happen at any time, but especially during low tide.

They said the majority of people who are prone to drift away in the ocean are less experienced swimmers.

"More of our beach goers maybe experienced beach goers but they haven't even swam in a pool at distance," said assistant director Ben Battaile. "They've never really swam more than 50 or 100 meters in one go just to swim."

It's best to know where rip currents are in the water to avoid them.

"What that will be: a little choppy water, uneven waves, waves breaking and also water moving away from shore," added Battaile.

Rip currents are slow moving and can move anywhere between four and six miles per hour, but how can you survive one?

The first rule is to not panic.

Lifeguards in the city said that rip currents will pull you away, but panicking can pull you down.

"If you do panic, that's what pulls people under and that's when they start drowning," said lifeguard Bri Vuyovich.

Lifeguards advise to hold onto your floating device or if you don't have one, simply float in the water.

Stay relaxed and call for help.

"The lifeguard will notice. If you're far from a lifeguard somebody will call 911 and notify us," Vuyovich mentioned.

The Search and Rescue Team also said swimming in the area of a lifeguard will decrease your chances of a dangerous situation turning deadly.

Related:

Two people die swimming off Cape Hatteras