That one time we got caught in a rip current

We go to the beach a lot. At least 4 or 5 times a year. Sometimes more. We love the beach and understand that as beautiful as it is, it can also be a dangerous place. We’ve learned to leave a wide berth in the ocean for the jelly fish and to watch where we step to avoid crabs. We wear lots of sunscreen to protect our skin and sunglasses to protect our eyes. We’ve even seen the occasional shark (nowhere near us, though). But this weekend was our first experience with a rip current.

A rip current can be incredibly dangerous if you don’t realize what’s happening. Which we didn’t at first. Christopher and I were playing way out in the ocean and the water was prettyΒ rough with some big waves. But we love playing in the waves so we were having a blast! I was on a float and he was next to me swimming around. We went over several big waves and had fun splashing and playing. And then suddenly Christopher looked behind me and went from playful to serious in a millisecond. He reached for my float and said, “Oh babe, hold on.” And then a massive wave broke over us and took us both completely under.

As the water slammed the side of my head, I wrapped both arms around my float and held on for dear life knowing that it would eventually bring me back to the surface. In probably less than 10 seconds (though it felt like forever) I broke through the water’s surface and took in a huge breath. No sooner did I make it to the surface than I heard Christopher’s voice yell at me to hold on to the float and then a second wave crashed over us both and took us completely under again. Again I held on as my float slowly brought me back to the surface. Christopher made his way to me just in time to tell me that another wave was coming. Yes, we got completely pummeled by three giant waves in a row.

When we went under the third time, Christopher found meΒ under the water and grabbed me with a lifeguard rescue stroke. He was a lifeguard for three summers and instinct kicked in when he saw I wasn’t swimming. I can swim, but I didn’t realize we were caught in a rip current so I kept thinking that as long as I held on to my float, I’d be fine because I’d eventually float to the top and the waves should carry me back to shore. Because we kept getting taken under I couldn’t see anything and didn’t realize what was happening. Christopher, however, had identified the problem and realized that we needed to get out of the current. Once he had his arm wrapped around me and started swimming parallel to shore, I realized what was happening and started swimming too.

Once we got out of the line of the enormous, crashing waves we were able to make it to shore quickly. One of those guys who rents umbrellas & chairs on the beach walked up to us to be sure we were okay. He explained that a rip current had just opened up in this area and was really dangerous (obviously, ha!). Once we knew where the current was, it was a lot easier to avoid it or be more careful while in it for the rest of the day. πŸ™‚

It was only after we sat down on the beach together that the impact of what had just happened (and what could have happened) actually sunk in. We found ourselves very grateful to be safe and sound. And on the bright side we now have experience with swimming out of a rip current. Helpful for future beach trips for sure. πŸ™‚

beach day2

Love Rach

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46 responses to “That one time we got caught in a rip current

  1. You had me at the edge of my seat! What an amazing story. I’m glad you are both okay and able to live to tell the tale!

  2. Wow! So glad both of you are all right!

    -Tia

  3. That’s so crazy! I’ve never been in a rip current, but it sounds horrifying! I’m happy to know that you two made it out okay though! Now at least if it were ever to happen again you’d have a great idea of what to do.

    Being from South Florida, it’s kind of sad how often I DONT go to the beach lol! You probably actually go more than I do!! I guess when I live so close it loses its excitement? πŸ˜€

    • Interesting! We’ve talked a lot about moving to the beach and have wondered if living that close to it would make it not seem as special and if we’d still go as often as we do now. My family lives close to Gulf Shores and they rarely ever go to the beach unless we’re down there to visit. That just seems crazy to me, but I guess I understand.

  4. Ya’ll be careful! Didn’t the condo catch on fire one of that last times you were there?

  5. That’s crazy!! I’m glad you are both okay!

  6. I would have been petrified!! Open water like that horrifies me. Thank GOD you two are OK, and that Christopher had some training for this!

  7. Oh how scary! That’s a good reminder though. I forgot you are supposed to swim parallel to the shore to get out of those. I’ve never actually gotten caught in one before. Thank goodness Christopher had that training and you both were able to swim away.

  8. Wow. Thank goodness you both kept your heads on straight and thought about what the solution was. Go Lifeguard Christopher! So glad you’re safe.

  9. oh my goodness!! So glad you guys are ok!

  10. That is so scary!!!

  11. Ahhh!! Thank goodness you guys are okay!!! SO scary!!

  12. What a crazy story! I am glad you are both okay and that your husband knew what was going on and acted quickly. The beach you were at looks absolutely beautiful.

  13. that was so crazy !!you had me on the edge of my seat!!! glad that you both are okey

  14. I’ve been swimming in the ocean in my life and I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a rip current! Glad you are okay!

  15. Scary! So glad you made it out okay and that Christopher knew what was going on and was able to let you know.

  16. That’s quite an experience!! Good to know you had Christopher around and that you are okay! πŸ™‚

  17. This is such a scary story! I was caught and pulled under some scary waves when I was younger (maybe I was technically in a rip current and I didn’t realize it?), and it’s kind of given me a fear of swimming out deep into the ocean now. I’m glad you guys are okay!

  18. thehipandthrifty

    Wow…that was amazing–thank God you two got away! Think how his decision years ago to become a lifeguard and your snap decision to bring that float affected the outcome of a dangerous situation so dramatically…I’m not really a “fate/destiny” kind of person, but you certainly had Someone looking out for you that day! πŸ™‚

  19. Sounds like you reacted perfectly. It’s so important not to panic. Glad you’re ok!

  20. Oh my!! I am so glad you both are okay! How scary!

  21. Oh my goodness, that is so scary!! So glad that you guys are both okay, and that you handled it so well!! I don’t know if I would have been able to identify a rip current. Scary stuff!

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