What are rip currents?
- Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches.
- Rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers.
- Rip currents are quite common and can be found on many surf beaches everyday.
- Rip currents pull people away from shore.
- Rip current speeds can vary from moment to moment and can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the ocean.
- Rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
- A channel of churning, choppy water.
- A difference in water color.
- A line of foam moving seaward.
- A break in the incoming wave pattern.
- Stay calm.
- Do not try to swim against the current.
- Escape the current by swimming in a direction parallel to shore. When free of the current, swim at an angle – away from the current – toward shore.
- If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
- If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself; face the shore, call or wave for help.
- Learn how to swim.
- Never swim alone.
- Swim near an open lifeguard station.
- Check with the lifeguard before entering the water for any unsafe conditions.
- Do not become a victim while trying to help someone else! Many people have died in efforts to rescue rip current victims.
- Get help from a lifeguard.
- If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape.
- If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats.
- Call 9-1-1 for further assistance.