Eight people drowned in one day in 2003 -- known as Black Sunday -- including retired CNN correspondent Larry LaMotte of Atlanta, Ga., and Ken Brindley of Conway, Ark., who were vacationing with their families. LaMotte had gone in the water to rescue his son who was caught in a rip current and got swept up himself. Brindley, seeing LaMotte in distress, went in to help but could not make it out.
LaMotte's wife Sandee told ABC News that the families had been completely unaware of the danger.
"Here we are, two families, two husbands, two fathers leaving behind two sets of children all because we didn't realize that were in danger playing here at the water's shore," said LaMotte.
Lifeguards insist that the safest option for inexperienced ocean swimmers is to swim at a beach with lifeguards. For beachgoers who find themselves caught in a rip current, they offer these potentially life-saving tips:
Don't try to swim against the current.
Try to swimming parallel to the shoreline to get out of the current.
When out of the current, swim at an angle away from the current, towards the shore.
If you are unable to swim out of the current, float or calmly tread water.