(HealthDay News) — Most beach rescues performed by lifeguards are caused by rip currents — strong currents that can pull swimmers under, says the American Red Cross.

Rip currents can form in any large open area and can be dangerous.

To escape a rip current, the Red Cross offers advice:

  • Stay calm and don’t fight it.
  • Either float or swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current.
  • Turn and swim to shore.
  • If you can’t make it to shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.

If someone else is caught in a rip current, get help from a lifeguard or call 911 immediately.