Do You Know How to Survive a Rip Tide?

This summer there have been an alarming number of people drowning on the east coast.

Police in the northeast are calling the number unprecedented.

The deaths are being blamed on unusually strong currents.

To the lifeguard's trained eye, the danger in the water is obvious.

"Usually a lighter green color, it's usually swirling. We describe it as a washing machine," said Chief Lifeguard Dick Johnson.

But would you know a riptide if you saw one coming?
The answer bears repeating in a summer that's seen nearly dozens of drowning and countless near misses.
We asked lifeguards to show us what to do when the powerful current unexpectedly pulls you out to sea.

"Although this isn't a very strong rip current, you can see how he continues to drift out and he's just relaxing and that's what you really should do in a rip current is sit back and relax and then when the rip current starts to ease up, swim to the side like Shawn's doing right now," said Johnson.

But most people panic and do what Toni did.

"I was trying to swim the opposite way at first and it wasn't working," said Toni Maffeo who was caught in a riptide.
It's also important to note that you can get caught in a riptide even in water as little as knee deep.

That's critical information for parents, who generally assume their kids are safe in shallow waters.

Not so."

"Parents don't understand that little children can be swept off their feet, as soon as they lose contact with the floor of the ocean," said Johnson. "If they're aren't any lifeguards, then you really shouldn't be in the water."