Rip Currents: What you need to know and how to stay safe

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jul 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-08 22:19:31-04

Most people call them riptides, but it's rip currents that hit the beach almost every single day, even when the water appears calm. Rip currents killed two people in Virginia Beach last year.

And when someone drowns and their body can't be found in the murky ocean water, rescuers have to wait until the next high tide brings the body in.

"It doesn't sit well at all. We do our very best not to get to that point. We exhaust every resource," says Mark Bailey with Virginia Beach Fire & Rescue.

Rip currents are a break in the sand floor that creates a channel sucking the water back into the ocean and they're impossible to see once you're in the water.

If you're caught in one, try to swim parallel to the beach and that will hopefully put you out of the rip current's path.

Getting the attention of a lifeguard is a must.

If they can't get to you, Virginia Beach Fire & Rescue will make its way out of Rudee Inlet and try to pull you out like they did more than 50 times last year.

Don't let the calm days fool you. Even on calm days, the threat is always there.

"Never take this ocean for granted because it's dynamic. It's constantly changing," says Tom Gill with Virginia Beach Lifesaving Services.

Throughout the week, NewsChannel 3 will alert you all of more dangers summer can present each night on the all new WGNT News at 7pm Powered By NewsChannel 3.

Dangers of digging holes in the sand, delayed drowning where rescued swimmers drown days later on dry land, propane explosions. And finally, deadly disease-carrying bugs, that are invading Hampton Roads: they are not only making you miserable, but they are potentially fatal.