beach safety week

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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.

Safety Tips

  • 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
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Rip Currents Informational 2.99 MB 0 downloads

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Florida Sea Turtles 3.60 MB 0 downloads

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Beach and Water Safety 2.64 MB 0 downloads

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