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Rip currents could be problem this weekend

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- If you plan on going to the beach this Memorial Day weekend, watch out for rip currents. There is a high risk of rip currents for New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick County beaches.

The rip current risk has been high for the past few days, and the threat may last through most of the weekend. Lifeguards say if you see a red flag, don't get in the water, and if you get caught in a rip, try to relax.

"If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, the best thing to do is stay calm," Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue Director Simon Saunders said. "People seem to panic. If you can stay calm, stay parallel to shore. Once you've made it out of the rip current, then you can start making your way in. You're not going to overcome a strong rip current."

Carolina Beach lifeguards rescued 175 people caught in rip currents last year. At Wrightsville Beach, lifeguards saved nearly 200 swimmers from rips last year.

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Rip Current Worries

Folks, there are rip current dangers DAILY along the North Carolina Coast - why do media outlets find it so necessary to roll out these canned stories mere hours before the tourists arrive in our beach communities? It's bad enough our local beach businesses have to bear the brunt of repeatedly-inaccurate hurricane prognosticators every May - why do these "news" stations have to pile on to their misery. The lifeguards will let the sun-bleached "tourons" know when it is safe to be in the water. I have no problem with the media trying to educate the public on how to deal with rip currents, but this "shock and horror"-style of news coverage doesn't serve your audience.