National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Graphical representation of the Surf Zone Forecast. MAZ007 MAZ015 MAZ019 MAZ022 MAZ024 MAZ023 MAZ020 RIZ007 RIZ006 RIZ008
 
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Rip Current Risk Levels

Low Risk
A low risk of rip currents implies that wind and wave conditions are not expected to support the development of enhanced rip currents. However, Rip Currents are always possible, especially near jetties and other structures.

Moderate Risk
A moderate risk of rip currents implies that individuals planning to enter the surf should check with local beach patrols first. Be sure to swim within sight of a life guard, and never swim alone or at night.

High Risk
A high risk of rip currents means dangerous and potentially life threatening conditions exist for all people entering the surf. 


Rip Current Safety Tips

Learn how to swim!

When at the beach:
  • Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Learn how to swim in the surf.  It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
  • Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
  • Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
If caught in a rip current:
  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Never fight against the current.
  • Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
  • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:
  • Get help from a lifeguard.
  • If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
  • Throw the rip current victim something that floats--a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
  • Yell instructions on how to escape.
  • Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.