Another high risk of rip currents

The National Weather Service in Wilmington has issued a high rip current risk, which is in effect from Friday morning through Friday evening.

Dangerous rip currents will exist all day, but the strongest rip currents will occur within two hours on either side of low tide, about noon, and near jetties and piers.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties, and piers.

Although it may look like the perfect day to swim in the ocean, lifeguards familiar with these waters said conditions like these can be dangerous to anyone attempting to go for a swim.

"Basically what happens is people, once they get into these rip currents, it pulls them out, people panic, and that's when they get in trouble," said Wesley Cox of Lack's Beach Service.

Cox suggested swimmers pay attention to lifeguards and beach patrol officers, along with flags and posted signs.

"We also have another ordinance that the lifeguards can advise if they need to come in closer as far as waist-deep. And of course, whatever the water conditions are, we'll keep bringing the people in as needed," Cox said.

It's especially important for older individuals to know their body's limits and take into account any medical history before stepping foot in the water.

"When we get older and our hormone levels change, our muscles aren't nearly as strong. We can't ask our muscles to do as much as work as we did normally," said Dr. Dennis Rhoades of Doctor's Care.

If you become caught in a rip current, do not panic. Remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current, begin to swim back to the beach.

North Myrtle Beach lifeguards performed 98 water rescues Thursday, which they said could be a record.