Gulf Shores lifeguards offer life-saving rip current advice for beachgoers

As the weather heats up, it becomes more tempting to wade out into the Gulf of Mexico. While beautiful and a whole lot of fun, it can also be dangerous. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:29 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s beaches are getting busy. As the weather heats up, it becomes more tempting to wade out into the Gulf of Mexico. While beautiful and a whole lot of fun, it can also be dangerous.

Rip currents are the No. 1weather-related killer at the beaches along the Gulf Coast. These deadly currents can move up to 8 feet per second; that’s faster than an Olympic swimmer. Waves do not have to be huge for rip currents to form.

Fatalities along Alabama and Florida Panhandle coast from 2002-2021.
Fatalities along Alabama and Florida Panhandle coast from 2002-2021.(NWS Mobile/Tallahassee)

If you do get caught in a rip current, Gulf Shores Beach Safety Director Joethan Phillips offers this advice: “The first thing you want to do is to not panic, and then to wait for help. Let it pull you out. Don’t try to swim against the current.”

Phillips adds, “If you see somebody who needs help, do not enter the water, call 911 and let us come do it so we don’t have more victims.”

Phillips says you should only swim in areas where life guards are present, never swim alone, and if in doubt, don’t go out.

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Rip Current
Rip Current(WTVY)

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