ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD)- A moderate rip current advisory is in place for the Lowcountry and local law enforcement officials are sharing their tips to stay safe while on the water.

“They can pop up everywhere. You have to pay attention when you’re out there,” said Chief Kevin Cornett, of the Isle of Palms Police Department.

Strong rip current advisories mainly come around when there are high winds.

“The winds will bring the water towards the shore so those waves break. When they break on shore they have to find some place to get back out. So these rivers of water if you will are trying to find ways to get back out,” said Rob Fowler, Storm Team 2’s Chief Meteorologist.

After you’ve set down your beach chairs and towels, Chief Cornett says to survey the water to look for rip currents.

“If you see an area that looks different I would probably say that you need to avoid the area. A lot of times it will be kind of like a channel,” said Cornett. “We’re looking for anything that looks like the water is bubbling, the color is different or multiple items are being pulled out towards the ocean.’

If you’re still unsure after the eye test then wade into ankle deep water and you’ll feel a push or pull in another direction from the current.

How to get out of a rip current.

  • Don’t panic and be calm.
  • Let the current take you and you’ll end up at the end of it or swim parallel to the shore.
  • When you’re no longer in the current swim back to the beach.
  • If you’re in distress wave your hands toward the beach and call for help.

Rip currents do not take up the whole beach front, but rather are smaller channels that are more illusive at times.

“You have to pay attention when you’re out there. Watch your kids. Watch your loved ones that are out there. Don’t swim alone. Make sure you’ve got somebody,” said Chief Cornett.

While Chief Cornett has not seen many issues this summer with rip currents he knows that the serious incidents begin when someone starts to struggle in the water.

“We’ve seen incidents like this where people get pulled out and under because they’re fighting it. They get tired and they can’t swim,” said Chief Cornett. “Normally a rip current is not going to pull you underwater. It’s going to pull you out further from the shore. If you start to struggle with it and fight with it you’re putting yourself in a more dangerous situation.”