OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — High rip current risk at all Brunswick County beaches, Tuesday, and Oak Island is keeping an active radar for accidents after two water rescues this past week.
“It will pull you out so, don’t go out there unless you really really understand the ocean,” Water Rescue Chief Tony Young said.
Young says keep it knee deep or less, if you’re not an experienced swimmer. He says the waves are typically not that big, but they are just enough to knock you over and, if there is a rip current, it can pull you out.
“When the ocean looks like it does today and when that wind is blowing really hard onto the beach,it’s rough out there,” Young said. “Even the most experienced swimmers and surfers can get in trouble, so, if you’re not one of those things, definitely stay out of the water.”
Tim Long says any time there are waves he hits the water, but he says experience is key in staying with these waves.
“You can definitely feel the waves pulling out there,” Long said. “Watch out for young ones. It can get a little too deep in there. The currents can suck them straight out so, it’s definitely something you want to keep an eye on.”
But, Young says, if you are caught, do not fight the pull.
“It’s not going to take you a mile out to sea,” Young said. “You’re going to go maybe 100 yards or so and at that point, if you could just keep yourself calm and above water, help will come and get you.”
Young says last summer was an active season for the 20 volunteers in the rescue crew with more than 50 rescues. The team is taking no breaks this year and is still responding to calls.
“When they call us and their loved one is in trouble that is the worst day of their life, but you have to divorce yourself from that,” Young said. “You have to go and do the job and do whatever it takes to help that person.”
He says swimming noodles, boogie boards and a cooler can all be used as floating devices while you are waiting to be rescued.
“Believe it or not these things float great,” Young said. “[They are] kinda hard to throw, but, if you could get it into the rip current with them, it’s gonna go the same path their going and they might be able to get to it.”