Longboat Key Fire Rescue is launching a public education campaign to prevent injuries and drowning on local beaches.
The department is asking property managers and association presidents to post a handout about rip currents on their properties.
According to the flyer, signs that a rip current is present are subtle and may not be present at all but can include a channel of churning, choppy water; an area with a notable difference in water color; a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward; or break in the incoming wave pattern.
If caught in a rip current, swimmers should remain calm to conserve energy and avoid fighting the current.
“Think of it like a treadmill you can’t turn off,” the flyer states. “You want to step to the side of it.”
Swim across the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim and angle away from the current and toward shore.
If you can’t escape it, try to float or calmly tread water. Rip current strength eventually subsides offshore. When it does, swim to the shore.
If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach the shore, draw attention to yourself by facing the shore, waving your arms and yelling for help.
Contact Robin Hartill at email@example.com.
Click here to view page two of the rip current flier.
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