National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Mark Trail Cartoon about rip current safety.  See text below.

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NOAA has designated the first week in June as Rip Current Awareness Week. Before going on your beach vacation, learn more about rip currents. 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.