Rip Currents

What is a rip current?

A rip current is a rush of water that flows rapidly back to sea through a narrow opening. Rip currents move directly away from the shore and cuts through waves.

Rip currents are dangerous.

Rip currents can be extremely dangerous! It cuts through waves and can pull you in its direction. If it pulling you, pull yourself as hard as you can in the opposite direction. If you are in one, it can result in drowning if you do not escape the current. Currents are responsible for 150 deaths every year in the US. In Florida, they kill more people than thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined.
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How do rip currents form?

Rip currents form when waves break along the shoreline. It piles up water between the beach and the waves. It returns to sea. It doesn't always return to sea by a rip current but sometimes it does.
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Parts of the rip current.

As you can see in the photo above, there is different parts of the current. There is feeders on both sides. There is a neck and also a head. There is also breakers. It goes over the sandbar and the feeders bring the water back into sea.

How to identify a rip current.

- Look for a channel of choppy, churning water.

- Look for water that has a very big change in the color compared to the other parts of the water

- See if there is any foam or debris moving away from the coast.

- Look for a break in the wave patterns.

How to save somebody from a rip current.

First, DO NOT try to save somebody by yourself. If you see somebody but do not have anybody with you, grab another person on the beach. If you can, or if there is one, get the nearest lifeguard. Whether or not you have a lifeguard depends on the beach. If there is no lifeguard, call 911. If you have something, throw something into the water to the person that they could grab or latch on to. A life jacket would be best, towel, even a cooler. If you know how to escape but can not go in alone, yell instructions to the person on how to get out. Do not let them panic!

How to avoid a rip current.

- Ask a lifeguard about the rip current risks on the particular day.

-Sometimes, there will be signs that have ocean hazards, rip currents may be one of the hazards.

- Try to use the buddy system, don't go alone!

Hope you learned something from this, you can use it in the future!