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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a big week for summer vacations at the Jersey Shore, but there’s a bit of danger lurking offshore. Tropical Storm Chris is off the East Coast and is expected to develop into a hurricane.
The rain and winds won’t affect the Jersey Shore, but Chris will kick up the surf, causing potentially dangerous rip currents this week.
Rip currents post the largest ocean-based threat to vacationers at the beach each year. In 2017, there were over 2,700 water rescues and four fatalities related to rip currents in New Jersey and Delaware. In one situation, beachgoers even helped lifeguards by creating a human chain to pull someone out of the water.
The surf is already dangerous off Nags Head, North Carolina, where one man drowned over the weekend after he was caught in a rip current.
While Chris is not likely to be a direct threat to area beaches, strong rip currents could be, so always remember these tips to recognize rip currents and stay safe.
To spot a rip current, look for choppy or discolored water, a current of debris moving out to sea or a break in wave action.
If you find yourself caught in a rip current, remember first to remain calm and conserve energy.
Next, start to swim parallel to the shore until out of the current, then swim into the shore. If you can’t swim, float calmly until out of the current, then head into shore.
Finally, never try to swim against a rip current as some can reach speeds faster than an Olympic swimmer and always swim at a guarded beach.