What are rip currents?

  • Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore at beaches with surf.
  • Rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers.
  • Rip currents are quite common and can be found on many surf beaches everyday.


rip current image

  Why are rip currents dangerous?

    • Rip currents pull people away from shore.
    • Rip current speeds can vary from moment to moment and can quickly increase to become dangerous.
    • Rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.




How do I know if a rip current is present?

  • A channel of churning, choppy water.
  • A difference in water color.
  • A line of foam moving seaward.
  • A break in the incoming wave pattern.


rip current photo
rip current diagram

     What if I am caught in a rip current?

    • Stay calm.
    • Do not try to swim against the current.
    • Escape the current by swimming in a direction parallel to shore. 
    • If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
    • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself; face the shore, call or wave for help.



What are some safety tips?

  • Learn how to swim at your local pool before swimming at the beach.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Always swim near an open lifeguard station.
  • Check with the lifeguard before entering the water to be made aware of any unsafe conditions.


lg photo
lg photo

How do I help someone else?

  • Do not become a victim while trying to help someone else! Many people have died in efforts to rescue rip current victims.
  • Get help from a lifeguard.
  • If a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape.
  • If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats.

Call 9-1-1 for further assistance.