A Maine Police Department Explains What A Rip Current Looks Like And How To Survive One
As the temperatures begin to rise, beach season in Maine will soon be in full force. Year after year, warnings are released to be aware of rip currents when swimming and playing in the ocean. But what exactly are rip currents and how can you spot them? The Scarborough Police Department took to Facebook to answer those questions.
A rip current is probably something you've seen along the coastline at a beach in Maine dozens of times and never really knew what you were looking at. Here's how to identify them:
When you see waves and then a small section of "flat" waves in between, that's a rip current. The water is moving in the opposite direction. Stay clear of these areas, this is NOT a calm place to hang out with small children.
Even more importantly inside their Facebook post, the Scarborough PD give detailed step-by-step instructions on what to do if you get caught in a rip current. Put these in your memory bank, it could save your life.
If you are caught in a rip current remember to stay calm. A rip current will probably not pull you underwater; it will only pull you away from the shore. If you try to fight it you will exhaust yourself. Rather than swim against the current toward shore, swim parallel to the shore. As you do so, the rip current will carry you further away from shore, but don't panic. Continue swimming parallel to the shore until you are clear of the current--usually no more than 100-150 feet down the beach from the point where you entered the water.
The Scarborough PD go into further detail in the event you run out of energy, are alone or aren't able to swim out of the rip current.
Float on your back or tread water if you can't swim out of the current. If you can't swim, or if you get tired before you manage to make it out of the current, conserve your energy and stay afloat. Signal for help if there are people present. If you're alone, just relax and stay afloat until you have enough energy to continue to swim. Rip currents generally subside 50-100 yards from the shore, so you'll eventually stop getting pulled further out.
Everyone wants to have a safe and fun summer spending time at Maine's gorgeous beaches. Know what rip currents are and stay as far away from them as you can!