National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


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  • Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from the shores at surf beaches including the Great Lakes.
  • Rip Currents form when waves break and water piles up between the beach and the breaking waves.
  • One of the ways water returns seaward is by rip currents which frequently move you to the sea at right angles to the shore.
  • Rip currents speeds can vary.They have been measured at speeds faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint, even the strongest swimmers can be pulled offshore by a strong rip current.
  • DON'T FIGHT THE CURRENT, and swim in the direction following the shoreline, once the current relaxes, swim towards the shore.
  • Remember, rip currents pull people away from shore, not under the water.
  • Don't before a victim trying to help someone. if a lifeguard is not present, yell instructions on how to escape, if possible, throw the victim something that floats.