“I’m coming, mate!” yells the lifeguard as he paddles toward a young boy trapped in a rip current off the Cornwall, U.K. shore. When the lifeguard reaches him, the boy is obviously shaken and out of breath, and the lifeguard tells him that everything is okay now. The boy climbs onto the board and the lifeguard paddles him back to shore.
This video was captured by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at Crooklets beach on Tuesday. According to RNLI, six other people had been plucked from rip currents that day. Strong rip currents have been common at Crooklets this year, but swimmers and body-boarders are testing the water anyways.
Rip currents form as waves hit the shoreline and water piles up. The water moves horizontally along the shore until there’s an area of weakness in the waves, at which point a current flowing away from the shore will form. These currents can pull swimmers away from the shore in no time, and they often struggle against the force trying to swim back, expending a lot of their energy.
If you’re ever caught in a rip current, remember to swim parallel to shore until you’re out of it, and then you can swim back to the beach. It’s also probably a good idea to wave your hands around to alert lifeguards that you are struggling. Luckily this young boy in the video had a lifeguard looking out for him.