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.
It is important not to go into the ocean when there is a Rip Current Warning!
If you happen to get caught in one, and you can stand up, you should wade or walk, don’t swim, back to shore. 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.
To see if there are rip currents in your area, go to weather.gov by clicking here.
Stay safe at the beach.
(photo credit: whyy.org)