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Rip Current Safety Tips


When at the beach:

  • Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Learn how to swim in the surf. It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
  • Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded in doubt, don’t go out.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
  • Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach.
  • Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.

If caught in a rip current:

  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Never fight against the current.
  • Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
  • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:

  • Call 911 or get help from a lifeguard.
  • Throw the rip current victim something that floats--a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball. If he can’t grab it, keep trying until he does, but remember to stay knees Dep..
  • Yell instructions on how to escape.
  • Remember, many people drown unnecessarily while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

Club Tortuga has developed two Lifesaving Training Manuals, available at no cost to you.

The basic manual is called "The Jungle Training Manual"; it deals with very basic ocean lifeguarding and is available in both English and Spanish translations.

The more comprehensive manual is called “The United States Lifesaving Association Manual of Open Water Lifesaving”, is also available in both English and Spanish translations. This text is extremely detailed.


Please contact Club Tortuga at contactus@clubtortuga.org for a copy of these manuals. All of these manuals are offered at no cost, however a small freight charge may apply.

In your request, please include your name, address/phone number, amount and types of manuals requested (indicate language preference) and any other contact information, so that we may process your request quickly. Once your request is received, we will contact you regarding expected delivery date, and payment of any shipping/freight charges.

Lifeguards United for Progress,

Matt Karl
Chairman, Club Tortuga

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