How to look out for rip currents and what to do when caught in one
New Jersey beach goers beware! There are some strong rip currents offshore these days.
New Jersey 101.5's Dino Flammia recently reported how off-season storms created sandbars in the surf at many shore points. These sandbars, when they collapse, are what generate rip currents.
Capt. Ed Schneider of the Wildwood Beach Patrol says you can get advice right there on the beach.
"Any lifeguard will be able to point out a rip current to a vacationer."
According to Schneider, there are many weather factors that go into the formation of rips, and these are factors that the average person can keep an eye on.
He says when the tide is coming in at certain points, rips tend to be pulling a little bit stronger.
And then you have wind factors, "if the wind is blowing on to shore, and pressure factors, which push a larger volume of water on to the shore. That water needs to go somewhere. And that water exiting from waves coming in, that will cause the rip at various places on the beach." He says most beaches have areas where there is what he calls a "stable rip" because "it is there every day."
Schneider says if you're caught in a rip, let the tide carry you out, swim parallel to the shore and don't panic.
"You should not be swimming alone."
He says some rips can carry you 30 feet. Some can carry you 75 feet to 100 feet out to sea.
And don't go in the water when the lifeguards are off duty.
"If lifeguards are not on duty, it could lead to a deadly situation at the beach. If people are not familiar with the ocean environment, that causes panic. And panic leads to other worse case scenarios."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5