Keep an eye out for rip currents this Fourth of July

This image shows a rip current using a harmless green dye. Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer. [NOAA image]

As visitors and locals flock to the beaches to commemorate Independence Day next week, it is important to remember that rip currents are extremely prevalent here at the Outer Banks and while the ocean can be a relaxing place to cool down, it can also be one of the deadliest.

If you’re ever caught in a rip current, the most important thing to note is that rip currents pull you out, not under. Ensure that you follow these crucial steps to avoid drowning:

  • Remain calm.
  • Yell and wave for help.
  • Stay afloat.
  • Swim parallel to the shore. Don’t try to swim against the current.
  • Once you no longer feel the pull of the current, then you can begin swimming to shore.

Never underestimate the power of the ocean.

For more beach safety tips, visit