Is There a Way to Combat Rip Currents?

Researchers hope to use a GPS unit to track where the dangerous waves are likely to be.
1:56 | 07/25/14

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Transcript for Is There a Way to Combat Rip Currents?
Now to dramatic new video of riptide rescues just Thursday and a new invention that could help protect swimmers from the potentially deadly had order and teach them new waifs to escape. ABC's Ryan smith has the story. Reporter: This morning, dramatic video of the ocean's number one killer at work, rip currents. This one giving a young boy the fight of his life. I'm coming, buddy. Reporter: The boy cries for a help as the lifeguard paddles through the rough waters. Exhausted and gasping for air, he is rescued. Take a breath. Take a breath. Reporter: It's a familiar sight in the states too. On Wednesday, a swimmer caught in a rip current off the coast of Oregon also rescued by a lifeguard. And it's not just oceans, rip current warnings keeping swimmers out of lake Michigan too. Rip currents account for 80% of rescues and every year nearly 100 people drown in the U.S. Because of them. But this morning, a possible life saver. Researchers testing out these green and yellow contraptions hoping they can track rip currents and warn swimmers before it's too late. Each of these units has a gps unit inside it that records its position every second. We put them in the areas where we think the rip currents are likely. Reporter: For the first time on the east coast 22 of these data logging drifters were released into a weak rip current on a North Carolina beach this week. Any beach with breaking waves will have rips and if you don't know what a rip current is, you're at risk so start learning about them and talking to lifeguards. Reporter: Now, experts say when rip currents are dangerous even Michael Phelps can't keep up so noaa advises, stay calm, don't fight the current and swim in the direction of the shoreline until you're free of the current then swim at an angle to shore. Right, they said -- right. Parallel? Parallel. You'll get right in. All right, Ryan, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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