Facts about Rip Currents
- Rip current speeds vary. Average speeds are 1-2 feet per second, but they have been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer!
- Rip currents can be very narrow or more than 50 yards wide.
- Sometimes a rip current ends just beyond the line of breaking waves; however, others may continue to flow hundreds of yards offshore.
- Rip currents do not pull people under the water—they pull people away from shore.
- Rip currents are sometimes mistakenly called undertow or riptides but these terms are not correct. Only the term rip currents is technically correct.
- Know how to swim.
- Never swim alone.
- If in doubt, don’t go out.
- Swim near a lifeguard
Where can I get more information about rip currents?
- Before you leave for the beach, check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions
- When you arrive at the beach, ask lifeguards about rip currents and other hazards.
- More information about rip currents can be found at the following web sites