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American Red Cross Provides Safety Tips for Rip Tides Caused by Hurricane Bill

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross has advice and safety tips for anyone planning a trip to the beach along the U.S. East Coast this weekend as experts predict Hurricane Bill may cause dangerous waves and rip tides along the shore.


Hurricane Bill is currently a Category Three storm with winds blowing up to 125 mph, and experts say the storm could strengthen over the open Atlantic. The first hurricane of 2009 is expected to travel very close to Bermuda and make landfall in Canada. Forecasters are predicting dangerous waves and rip tides all along the coast over the next several days.

Red Cross says beachgoers should be aware of how dangerous rip currents are, and swim only at beaches with lifeguards in the designated swimming area. Rip currents can form in any large open water area such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers. A band of water a few feet wide may rush back through a gap in a sandbar made by breaking waves.

If caught in a rip current, stay calm and don't fight the current.

  • Swim parallel to shore until free of the current.
  • Once free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If the swimmer feels they won't make it in to the shore, they should draw attention to themselves by waving and calling for help.

If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the victim something that floats -- a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.

When at the beach, check conditions before entering the water. Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.

The Red Cross offers swimming and water safety courses for people of all ages and abilities. Each year, more than 2 million people participate in Red Cross swimming and water safety programs. Visit for additional water safety tips and for information on our swimming programs. Contact your local chapter to find out which aquatic facilities offer Red Cross swimming courses.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

SOURCE American Red Cross
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