CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Swells associated with Tropical Storm Henri posed a moderate risk for rip currents along South Carolina beaches over the weekend.
Those looking to enjoy a little sand and waves despite the warnings say they know what to do and how to escape a rip current if they find themselves caught in one.
“One time I was jumping off someone’s dock, they have one of the last docks on the creek. I was jumping off and the rip current pulled me way down to further off the dock and they had to use kayaks to come to get me because no one was even able to swim to come and save me,” said Mandi Steinhagen, who described her experience of being caught in a rip current.
“I have not experienced it but I saw someone being pulled out of a rip current and they started swimming parallel to the beach and were able to get out of it,”‘ said another beachgoer, Maya Chiapetta.
The National Weather Service and beachgoers described what to do if caught in the rip: “A rip current you don’t want to fight it at all, you want to swim parallel and swim out,” said Sierra Bergeron.
“My best advice if you get caught in a rip current is not to panic and swim parallel to shore and eventually you will get out of the rip current,” said Steven Taylor, a Senior Forecaster for the National Weather Service.
It’s also important to know how to spot the potential threat in the ocean.
“I guess like a blank spot in the waves and that’s how you spot a rip current,” said local beachgoer, Olivia Sweatt.
The National Weather Service says a rip current can be hard to spot when the wind is strong or there are large waves.
“One of the things you can look for on the beach is you can see a cloudy area of water where sand and debris is being picked up by these rip currents and being taken out to sea,” said Taylor, Senior Forecaster for the National Weather Service.
Be aware, rip currents don’t just occur during hurricane season.
“Rip currents can occur year-round they are not just something that appears in the summer,” said Taylor, Senior Forecaster for the National Weather Service.
Storm Team 2 says that anytime a storm system churns off our coast, it brings a higher threat of rip currents.