Ocean: Boat, Beach & Marine

Ocean Waves

Beach & Rip Current Safety

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents account for 80% of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards. They can be deadly if a swimmer doesn’t know what to do when caught in one. Here is some vital safety information from NOAA that could save your life or the life of someone you love.

What is a rip current?

Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. They typically form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers. Rip currents are quite common and can be found on many surf beaches every day, including Great Lakes beaches. They do not pull people under the water – they pull people away from shore.

How to Escape

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t fight the current.
  • Escape the current by swimming in a direction following the shoreline. When free of the current, swim at an angle— away from the current—toward shore.
  • If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water. When the current weakens, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, call or wave for help.
  • Watch below video to see how to escape a rip current

Learn More: Rip Current Safety »