Water rescue: Three drownings in one month caused by rip currents in Oak Island

According to Oak Island Water Rescue, rip currents have caused three drownings in the last month.
Water
(Photo: WWAY)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) –According to Oak Island Water Rescue, rip currents have caused three drownings in the last month.

Water Rescue Chief Peter Grendze says this is very unusual. Last year, there were two drownings for the entire year, and the year before that there were none.

“This summer so far we’ve seen a lot of increases in crowds and actually been busier than other years it seems,” Grendze said.

The chief says all three incidents occurred on days when the risk of rip currents was moderate. He says just because it’s a nice day and the water seems nice, it doesn’t always mean it’s safe.

“We know you’re coming here to the beach to enjoy the water and you can, but you gotta do it safely because you don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, on two glorious days where it wasn’t really rough and we lost three people already,” Grendze said.

To make sure you are being safe, Grendze says to make sure you’re aware of the water conditions and bring a buddy if you plan on swimming.

Last summer, OIWR installed signs at every beach access that includes information about what each warning flag means and a QR code to scan to find out the current conditions.

If you do get stuck in a rip current, don’t panic and don’t fight. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until you break out of it.

If you see someone struggling in the water, make sure to call 911 before doing anything else. Grendze says some people are eager to jump into action or video things with their phones, but forget to call emergency services immediately.

For more information on rip currents and Oak Island Water Rescue, visit here.