First responders weigh in on riptide survival

First responders weigh in on riptide survival

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With warm summer temperatures, come beach vacations for many families in the Valley. However, just this month, one Columbus man drowned off a Florida beach and officials are now looking for a Columbus teen who went missing off the coast of Myrtle Beach this week.

Columbus water rescue first responders have some important things you need to remember if you're heading to the beach, like what to do if you're caught in a rip current.

"Summertime everybody wants to go and be on a beach, but their feet in the water, just sit there and relax and not worry," said travel agent Donna Comer, owner at Travels By Donna.  

Comer is staying busy booking beach vacations for families in the Valley, but she and first responders explain safety is key to having a good vacation.

"Prevention is really the best thing to do when you're dealing with water, bodies of water. It's nature, you can't fight it," said Cpt. Scott Boatner with the Columbus Fire and EMS Department.

"If you get in a rip current, you're not going to fight it so you really should have floating devices on, life jackets or anything. You pretty much have to ride it out," said Boatner.

Experts remind everyone that if you do get caught in a rip current you need to stay calm, call for help, try and regain your footing on the sea floor, and swim parallel to the shore to get out. However, your best bet is to be aware of beach warnings like the double red flag alert for swimmers not to go in the ocean.

"Most beaches have systems, they have flag systems out and they usually tell you that this is not the day to be in the water, and just don't get in the water," said Boatner.

It's a full time responsibility as a parent when your children are near water, but there are options if mom and dad need a break from guard duty.

"A lot of the resorts that we book have a kid's program and they use nannies that are certified, bonded, licensed, trained, registered nannies," said Comer.

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