Rip Currents

September 12, 2012


Rip currents form offshore in a narrow channel. These currents can extend 1,000 feet, reach 100 feet in width, and travel up to 5 mph. This is slower than you can run, but faster than you or even an Olympic swimmer can swim. They are most prevalent after storms; some lasting a few hours, some (especially on the oceans) permanently.

■Don’t fight the current.

■Swim parallel to the shore to get out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide.

■If you can’t escape, float calmly until the current dissipates, then swim diagonally back to the shore.

■If you need help, call or wave for assistance.

Recognize a Rip Current:

■Murky water from sediments stirred up by the current.

■Different waves – larger and choppier.

■Foam or objects that move steadily offshore.

source: Sea Grant

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