An experienced eye might spot signs of a rip current - a channel of choppy water, different water color in an area, or a break in incoming wave patterns.

Maybe. But it is just as likely he'll miss it.

Every year, according to the National Weather Service, more than 100 people in the country drown due to rip currents. The most vulnerable are those who can't swim.

Last week in two separate incidents at family-friendly Isle of Palms, one man died because of rip currents, four other people had to be rescued and two made it to shore on their own.

The Charleston office of the National Weather Service is warning people about the Isle of Palms' rip currents.

The phenomena form because of topography, and they can be narrow or wide, fast or slow.

With so many variables, it's best to play it safe while in the ocean.

Learn to swim. Always swim with someone. Swim near a lifeguard if possible.

If caught in a rip current, remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline.

Rip currents do not pull people under water; they pull them along on top of the water. It is generally fatigue, fear or an inability to swim that causes drowning deaths.

South Carolina has beautiful beaches that seem to be made for swimming - with rip currents that can be deadly.

Use a healthy dose of caution when enjoying the sand, sun and salt water.