A rip current is a seaward moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Rip currents are one of the most threatening natural hazards along our coast, often pulling victims away from the shallow waters near the shoreline out into the deep sea. The United States Lifesaving Association has found that 80% of the rescues made by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents.
Lifeguards advise that those visiting the beach avoid swimming where rip currents are present. If you become caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then return to shore. If you are unable to return to shore, tread water and wave for lifeguard assistance.
Remember, always be aware of ocean conditions. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards and are available to assist swimmers in identifying locations where rip currents are present. Be sure to ask a lifeguard about ocean conditions before entering the water.
Where can you get more information about rip currents?
(Graphic courtesy NOAA-USLA Rip Current Task Force)
Visit NOAA’s website for live rip current reports, surf reports, and more.