Month: July 2014

The Dangers of Rip Currents

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Now that summer is officially here, we are all spending more time on the sand and in the ocean, which leads to the discussion of rip currents.

Rip currents are produced by water draining from to beach and back out into the water. They can develop anywhere there are breaking waves, and often move slow enough to be barely detected. They can also move at speeds up to 8 feet per second! This is faster than any of us can possibly swim!

Some rip currents can give off some detectable signs:

  • Break in an incoming wave pattern
  • Debris and seaweed moving through the surf zone
  • An area of water in a surf zone that is a different color than its surrounding water
  • Isolated area of choppy water in the surf zone

Utilize your lifeguards! They know better than anybody else if you are in danger of a rip current. Don’t hesitate to ask them.

If you end up being caught in a rip current, the best thing to do is relax. Swim parallel to the shoreline and let it carry you. As long as you float and tread water, you will be safe until you can head back to shore. When you swim back to shore, swim at an angle to the shoreline. Maintain a slow pace until you reach the shore, since you will want to conserve as much energy as possible.