Rip Currents

Rip Currents are the most threatening natural hazard along our coast. They pull victims away from the beach and 80% of the rescues affected by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents.

A rip current is a seaward moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Each wave accumulates water on shore creating seaward pressure. This pressure is released in an area with the least amount of resistance, which is usually the deepest point along the ocean floor. Rip currents also exist in areas where the strength of the waves is weakened by objects such as rock jetties, piers, natural reefs, and even large groups of bathers. Rip currents often look like muddy rivers flowing away from the shore. Rip currents are sometimes mistakenly called "rip tides" or "undertows,” but they are not associated with tides and they do not pull people under.

Try to avoid swimming where rip currents are present, but if you become caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then swim back to shore. If you are unable to return back to the beach, tread water and wave for someone else on the beach to come and assist you.

Tune to the local weather channel for reports on which areas are being affected by rip currents on a daily basis.

Keep your children safe. Stay Aware.