What are Rip Currents?


With the upcoming Tropical Storm and Hurricane Season approaching, we thought it is important to explain how deadly rip currents can be.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents are powerful, narrow rivers of fast moving water that can travel up to eight feet per second. That is faster than an Olympic swimmer!

According to several sources, rip currents kill more people than sharks. They are sometimes hard to see on the surface, although you can often see a churning or disturbance on the surface of the water. Rip currents occur when waves break near the shoreline and/or sandbars, piling up water between the breaking waves and the beach or sandbar.  The water going out to the ocean moves very fast, thus causing the rip current.

They tend to form at low time, but not always. Our low tide Sunday is around 8:30 am and again around 8:30 pm  and on Monday, around 9:30 am and again around 10:00 pm.

The important thing is not to go into the ocean when there is a Rip Current Warning, as there is this weekend.  If you happen to get caught in one, and you can stand up, you should wade or walk, don’t swim. If you can’t stand up, swim parallel to the shore until you are no longer in the rip current and then swim for shore.  Also, shout for help so others know you are in trouble.

Stay safe.

Submitted by Tidelines Editors

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