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High risk of rip currents, ways to stay safe


A rip current can develop anywhere along the beach. “On high risk days, like today, we try to encourage people not to get in the water unless they’re good, strong swimmers,” said Reece Simmons of Oak Island Water Rescue.

The best way to get out of a rip current is to swim parallel to shore, until you’re out of the rip. Then you need to make it back to shore.

Mark Sudman of Clayton said, “We kind of experienced it earlier today. I didn’t know what it was, but we were out there in the water and it just started pulling us a little bit.”

Simmons added. “We’re prepared. We stay prepared and we’re well-trained and we’ll deal with the situation if it arises. We don’t have lifeguards in the Town of Oak Island. We have 12 miles of oceanfront to cover, so we opt to use our rescue boats that we can launch right into the surf. We can get to the location quickly onto the hard surface, launch the boat and have a successful rescue.”

Simmons has one more piece of advice. He said, always respect the ocean.

Oak Island crews did not have any ocean rescues, but the rough waters led to an early morning rescue off of Fort Fisher. It happened at around 1:00 Sunday morning. Three boaters were stranded in water when their boat overturned. Multiple crews responded to the rescue. Choppy water in the dark night complicated the rescue.

“It took about 2 and a half hours. The Coast Guard helicopter was on the scene to help illuminate the area. It was a good effort from a lot of agencies working together for a successful outturn,” said Simmons.

The names of the three boaters haven’t been released.

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videoBe careful if you are heading to the beach Monday. There is a moderate to high risk of rip currents again. WWAY’s John Rendleman talked to beach goers, and has some tips on how to stay safe.

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