Rip Current Awareness
Florida Beach Safety is proud to support Rip Current Awareness week from June 2nd to June 8th, 2013. We will be traveling to various beaches around our HQ in Pinellas County, Florida. We will be handing out Rip Current Awareness brochures to help educate the community.
Did you know that rip currents account for 80% of all beach related rescues?
Rip currents can take even the best swimmers life; griping you with a strong current and forcing you out to sea.
Luckily, there’s a way to break the grip of the rip and NOAA is leading the way to total awareness. The goal is to reduce the number of drownings every year from 100 to zero. Every single one of those deaths could have been avoided with more public education and awareness on this common phenomenon.
But exactly what is a rip current? How do you identify a rip current before you even step foot in the water? In this blog post I will attempt to answer these questions.
What is a rip current?
A rip current is a channeled current of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from near the shoreline, through the surf and past the line of breaking waves. They usually form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers. Rip currents are commonly found on surf beaches everyday and can even be found in the Great Lakes beaches.
Rip currents can vary in speed, averaging 1 to 2 feet per second. They have been measured as fast as 8 feet per second – much faster than a human can physically swim!
Rip currents do not pull people under the water; they pull people away from shore. Many people use incorrect terms to describe rip currents such as a riptide or undertow. These are improper terms and should not be used to describe them.
How to Identify a Rip Current
We know rip currents can be deadly – taking over 100 lives a year, but how does one identify a rip before they get in the water?
First and foremost, make sure you swim near a lifeguard. If you’re set up near one, ask them about the water condition. If you are swimming without a lifeguard around, look for these typical signs of rip currents:
- a difference in water color
- a channel of churning, choppy water
- a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving seaward
- a break in the incoming wave pattern
You can also look up the daily forecast for surf and rip currents for your local area by clicking here. This is updated daily and should be used before heading out to your favorite beach if you plan on swimming.
We hope to help spread the word and educate beachgoers of the dangers of rip currents.
Please feel free to share this page and sign up with our growing community! Together we can make a big difference!