Jun 13, 2013 8:14 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
Recent drownings from coast to coast are a reminder of what can be a deadly force in the water - rip currents.
They are like rivers in the sea, carrying swimmers beyond the waves and out to deep water.
Pismo State Beach Lifeguard Logan Hunter says there is usually a rip running next to the Pismo pier and they often form near stationary objects.
But not everyone knows what to do if they get caught.
"If you panic, a rip current can be deadly," Hunter says.
Rip currents are difficult to see from the shore, but easier to spot from the sky.
They form sporadically from shifting sands and increases in swell.
Blake Fischer is visiting California from New York, where rip currents have been prevalent early this summer season.
"You got to not panic, that's the main thing," Fischer says. "Stay on your board or whatever else you got at all times."
There are two ways to escape. Swim left or right out of the rip and along the shore. Swimming against the current will exhaust you and increase chances of drowning. Or float along the rip, letting it pull you out to sea and then swim back diagonally to the shore.
Hunter says a rip can catch anyone. "Even if you are a strong swimmer, it could be impossible."
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