The death of a swimmer this Memorial Day weekend in Florida has drawn new attention to the dangers of rip currents.
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One person drowned Sunday after he was pulled from the surf in Daytona Beach, in front of an unguarded lifeguard tower. Beach-goers nearby tried to revive him.
“We tried to keep his head up, and then we got him out and I started doing chest compressions,” Marissa Purvis said.
More than 130 rescues occurred in Volusia County, Florida on Sunday alone.
Rescuers in Jacksonville spent the past two days combing waters by boat and helicopter looking for a missing 11-year-old caught in the currents. That search has been called off.
Waters along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are under a rip current advisory. Rip currents are formed when water moves away from the shoreline. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers.
A change in the water color or a line of foam or seaweed can be signs of a rip current.
If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm, don’t fight the current and swim parallel to the shoreline, waiting for the current to weaken.