New signs warn beachgoers about dangers of rip currents - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

New signs warn beachgoers about dangers of rip currents

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The Town of Oak Island is taking major steps to give people a heads up about rip currents. The Town of Oak Island is taking major steps to give people a heads up about rip currents.

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) – With temperatures high, lots of people are flocking to area beaches to relax and cool down. But as pretty and relaxing as those beaches can be, there is a constant threat lurking in the waters.

The Town of Oak Island is taking major steps to give people a heads up about rip currents.

According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are the cause of 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards, and over the past few weeks, the town has installed 65 new signs warning beachgoers about rip currents. There are enough to have one at every beach access.

Town officials recently received a batch of new signs from the Sea Grants program, a national organization that works to educate the public on the dangers of rip currents.

Town Manager Steve Foster says those signs have to be replaced frequently because some beach visitors like to take them.

Foster says rip current education is key, and the posted signs are the first step to preventing a drowning.

"Most people, when they come to the beach, end up at the beach accesses where these signs are," said Foster. "We're hoping they read those stories before they get to the ocean. A lot of folks are so excited to get to the beach, they might just bypass them, but we're hoping they will stop and study them for a little bit."

The Town of Oak Island also received an instructional DVD as well as rip current brochures, which they hope to place in hotel rooms and rental homes.

An important tip to remember: if you get caught in a rip current, don't fight it. Swim parallel to shore to escape and call for help.

For more information on rip currents, click here.

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