Alabama
12:15 pm
Wed May 26, 2004

Safety Officials Warn Beachgoers of Rip Tides

coastal Alabama – The upcoming Memorial Day weekend will lure thousands of vacationers to beaches along the Gulf Coast, and public safety officials want them to remember to be careful of rip currents, or rip tides.
The dangerous currents are usually less than 25 feet wide and roughly 100 to 200 feet long. They often form around piers and breaks near shore sandbars. Swimmers can be caught in the currents, and if they panic, they can be pulled out to sea. At least 100 people die each year from rip currents, including a number of deaths along the Gulf Coast.
Safety officials say if you are swimming and feel you've been caught in a rip tide ... the best advice is to stay calm and swim steadily parallel to the shoreline. You will eventually escape the rip tide and be carried back to shore.