Return to Coastal Currents: Rip Currents

These images of rip currents were taken at public swimming beaches. Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents that flow away from shore and can occur at any beach with breaking waves. Rip currents can be killers and account for over 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards.

The greatest precaution that you can take is to recognize the danger of rip currents and only swim at beaches with lifeguards on duty. If you get caught in a rip current, never fight against it. Remain calm to conserve your energy. Think of the rip current like a treadmill that can't be turned off, and which you need to step to the side of the treadmill to get off. To escape a rip current, swim in a direction parallel to the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore. If you can't swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore. For more information go to the NOAA Rip Current Safety Web site: http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov.

 

Rip current at public swimming beach Rip current at public swimming beach

Rip current at public swimming beach Rip current at public swimming beach

 

 

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