Beach safety official shares safety information for Rip Current Awareness Week

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 7:10 AM CST
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The National Weather Service offices in Tallahassee and Mobile, Alabama have named this last week in February as Rip Current Awareness Week. NewsChannel 7′s Sam Martello was live from the Russel city pier to share some important information on rip currents.


Panama City Beach Fire Rescue Safety Director Wil Spivey encourages educating yourself about rip currents before hitting the water.

A rip current may look like a calmer channel of water in between the waves. Sometimes, the color of the water may also be different. Officials say you can minimize your risk of getting caught in a rip current by paying attention to current surf conditions and swimming where lifeguards are present.

In the event you do find yourself in a rip current, Spivey says not to panic and do not fight against it. The best way to break free of the current is to stay calm and swim parallel to the coastline.

When it comes to rescuing someone else, Spivey says to leave that to the professionals, as you run the risk of getting into trouble yourself. You should either alert a lifeguard or call 911 for help.

For more information, watch Sam’s full interview.

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