Do you know… great weather for the beach does not always mean it is safe to swim in the ocean? Rip currents often form on calm, sunny days.
Tropical storm and hurricane season is here so it is important to know how deadly rip currents can be since they are more prevalent during this time of the year. In fact, according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 65 rip current-related deaths in the US in 2020.
NOAA describes rip currents as powerful, narrow rivers of fast-moving water that can travel up to eight feet per second flowing away from the shore. That is faster than an Olympic swimmer! They are sometimes hard to see, although you can often see 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 our area, go to weather.gov by clicking here.
Stay safe at the beach.
Property owners should share this information with visitors and rental guests.
(Image credit: whyy.org)
Updated February 2023