Breaking News
More () »

Here's what to do if you get caught in a river current

Experts say you shouldn't fight the current. Instead, try to float on your back with your feet pointed downriver.

SAN ANTONIO — Parts of the Guadalupe River are known for it's strong and surprising currents. Whether it is a pool, a lake, or a river with a quickly moving current, knowing what to do before and during an incident often means the difference between life and death. 

"All I remember is going underwater and being pinned against the rocks where the roots and all that were, and the rope on my neck," said Cynthia Morales, who five years ago went tubing with friends on the San Marcos River. 

Due to heavy rain the night before, the water was flowing incredibly fast. She says one of her friends got stuck in a whirlpool. 

"He was stuck down there and he said he found a branch and he was able to pull himself out of it and which was terrifying because he was trying to save us," Morales said. 

Deseret Dawkinds, the Aquatics Director of the Family YMCA of San Antonio told us, "As hard as that is for anybody in that situation, is to remain calm. Current strength is very deceptive." 

Half of surviving a river current happens before you even hit the water. You should understand the risks of swimming in rivers, know the dangers of currents, know the swimming abilities of those around you, practice normal swim safety, and try to determine how fast the river is moving. But if you are caught in trouble in the water remain calm. 

"You want to not swim and try to swim directly against it, you will only tire yourself out," Dawkins said. "You want to float on your back with your feet forward so you can actually push against anything that you may come into contact with. Then you also want to swim diagonally to the shoreline when you were when the current is slowing down."  

The Family YMCA of San Antonio offers swimming lessons for both children and adults.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out