PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. — It might look like the picture-perfect beach day with warm sunshine and a nice breeze coming from the water, though there's a hidden danger.
Unless you look from above.
Taylor Busbee recently posted a few overhead views of Pensacola Beach, Florida, on his Coastal Local Instagram profile, and what's almost immediately apparent is the numerous rip currents.
A rip current is a narrow channel of fast-moving water that moves away from the shoreline. Waves crash onto the shoreline and pile water – eventually, that water has to go somewhere, so it jets outward in between sandbars. The water can move pretty quickly, sometimes up to 8 feet per second, according to the National Weather Service.
See for yourself! In the image below, can you count the number of rip currents? There are at least 10! Here's another cool shot taken at golden hour.
It's a misconception that rip currents drag swimmers underneath the water. Instead, they quickly pull the person away from the beach. The swimmer might try to swim back to shore against the rip and eventually become too exhausted. That's how people drown.
The best way to escape a rip current is to keep calm and swim parallel to the shoreline until the pull is no longer felt.
If you're hanging out at the beach and looking out to the water, how do you spot a rip current? 10 Weather meteorologist Grant Gilmore below shows you how to be a rip current spotter.
On a high-surf day, you'll see a break in between the waves – that's the channel of water moving away from the beach.
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