By: Charles Roop | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 23, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- When you think of the beach, you think of fun in the sun. But natural hazards, such as rip currents, can end the fun in a moment.
With more than 13,000 miles of coastline here in Florida, there are plenty of places to soak up the sun and play in the sand. But, there are also hazards.
Thunderstorms and waterspouts can create havoc for beach goers and boaters, but rip currents can cause tragedy.
A rip current is like a shallow channel of water moving away from shore. They can last as short as a few minutes or as long as several hours. They can extend off shore as far as a football field, and be dangerous as they pull unsuspecting swimmers out to sea into deeper waters.
That's what happened last year at St. George Island.
Bruce Maynor, Jr. went into the water to rescue his 12-year-old godson. But, after saving the child, a rip current pulled him under water.
Crews found his body a few days later.
It's important to know conditions before you go out, and be aware of what a rip current looks like.
If you are caught in a rip current, it's crucial not to panic, and swim parallel to shore away from the current.