MYTH: ALWAYS SWIM PARALLEL TO SHORE IF YOU ARE CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT
Fact: A rip current is scary, but swimming directly parallel to shore works best if the current goes directly out to sea. This isn’t totally wrong, but it’s good to know that many rip currents come in at an angle – your general idea should be to stay alongside the shore, but swim perpendicular to the current as much as you can “at an angle away from the current and towards the shore,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
It might be easier to swim one direction instead of the other. And don’t tire yourself out too much; it shouldn’t feel like you are going upstream. If you can’t swim out, tread water until you can.