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Dozens rescued from rip currents in Carolina Beach

READ MORE: Dozens rescued from rip currents in Carolina Beach
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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- With summer well underway and so many headed out to the beach, rip currents continue to be a major threat to swimmers. In the past few days alone, dozens have been rescued at Carolina Beach.

Denise West was at Carolina Beach all afternoon. Though the weather was great, swimming conditions were less than desirable. Since this past weekend, rip currents have been at high risk.

“We're having a great time except for the current,” West said. “It was a little scary. As the day went by, it got a lot worse.”

“Yesterday I also came to the beach and it wasn't as bad,” said Santiago Cruz, who is vacationing in Carolina Beach from Charlotte. “I don't know if it's the wind or what it is but it's getting tougher.”

CBOR says lifeguards have had their hands full, with nearly 40 assists and rescues from rip currents on Tuesday alone.

“We heard whistles being blown,” West said. “Part of the beach was cut off when we got here. We couldn't go down near the pier.”

“It will just take you in,” Cruz said. “Just like that. It will take you down.”

Simon Sanders, director of CBOR says the rip currents have been stronger than normal, caused by the rougher surf and outgoing tides. He says two hours before and after low tide is the most dangerous time to swim.

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It amazes me how many people

It amazes me how many people don't know how to free themselves from the rip or undertow.
1. First rule of thumb, DON'T PANIC!

2. Swim parallel to the shore until you're free of the current. They're rarely over 100 feet wide--so you need only get to the side of the rip current to escape it. You will wind up no more than 100-150 feet down the beach from where you entered the water.

3. Once you're free of the current, swim diagonally back to shore. Swimming straight back in may bring you back into the current. You may be some distance from shore at this point, so stop & rest or float, then continue your swim in to the shore.

If you cannot swim well or begin to panic, float on your back or tread water, do not attempt to fight the current!

BE SAFE OUT THERE! Happy beaching!