Beach goers: Beware sandbars, incoming tides, and being cut off from land

Flickr user jon smith 'una nos lucror'
The shore can sneak away from you fast - not so bad for these two yet, but imagine being on the further out sandbar.

Beach weather is effectively here in South Carolina and a story about two teens being rescued from a sandbar near Beaufort's Hunting Island is an opportunity for an important reminder: Watch your back.

While taking long walks on South Carolina's beautiful beaches, be sure to watch for incoming tides as the water doesn't always rise just in front of you. Many times that lovely long stretch of beach is part sand bar and will soon be consumed by the 12 feet of water coming home.

Water can well come rushing in along the back of your location an hour or longer before covering all of the sandbar.

Worse yet that three or four foot deep water of channel isn't just idle water that you'd find in a pool. It's a compressed stream of water rushing as the tide seeks to surge back into the Lowcountry's marshes.

Point: You'll have a hard time walking through it, and trying to swim may well suck you out to the ocean in a dreaded rip tide.

Should you find yourself in that worst case scenario, remember never to fight a rip tide and instead swim with the flow of it until the force has dispersed and you can swim parallel to shore, find a safe spot with mild currents to swim back.

And always be sure to watch for signs where it's too dangerous to swim.


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