Posted by Raul Arenas on October 29, 2016
What are rip currents?
Rip currents are strong currents or columns of water flowing swiftly away from the beach or shore.
Are rip currents dangerous?
Yes. Rip currents are extremely dangerous to swimmers, particularly
if the person is not from South Florida and generally unaware of how
very dangerous the Atlantic Ocean can be under adverse conditions.
Rip currents can sometimes form near fishing piers and jetties.
Do rip currents pull swimmers underwater?
No. Rip currents typically do not pull people under water. However, rip currents
can carry even the most experienced swimmers out and away from the beach.
What if you are caught in a rip current?
Don’t panic! Remain calm, conserve energy and think clearly. Never
fight or struggle against the current. A rip current is like a treadmill that
can’t be turned off. Swim out of the current in a direction following the
shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle — away from the
current — towards the shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip
current, float or calmly tread water. If you are unable to reach the
shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and yelling for assistance.
How do rip currents cause people to drown?
Drowning deaths occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep
themselves afl oat and swim to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear,
panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills. Rip currents are the greatest surf zone
hazard to all beach goers. They can sweep even the most experienced swimmers out to sea.
Rip currents are particularly dangerous for weak and non-swimmers.
Swimmers drown when they can’t get back to shore. This may be due
to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion or lack of swimming skills.
How to spot rip currents
Rip currents can be found on many surf beaches every day. Rip currents can occur at any
beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes.
Rip currents can be as narrow as 10 or 20 feet in width though they may be up to
ten times wider. The length of the rip current also varies.