Rip Currents Safety

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Rip currents are sometimes mistakenly called "rip tides" or "undertows." These are misnomers. Rip currents are not directly associated with tides and they do not pull people under.

Rip currents are formed when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path. Many rip currents are temporary, while others are permanent. Most trouble spots are less than 30 feet wide. Often they occur after storms. 

With the increasing number of people visiting our beaches, many do not understand the danger of rip currents or they attempt to swim where there are no lifeguards.

FLASH and the National Weather Service offer these important tips to survive rip currents and surf conditions. 

The key message is: Don't Panic.  

The best alternative is to swim only in an area protected by lifeguards who can provide advice and rescue in times of need. Always pay attention to warning flags and if you are caught in a rip current, you can try to escape it by moving sideways across it or parallel to shore until you are out of the current. If you can't break out of the current, float calmly and let the rip current carry you 50 to 100 yards from the shore until it dissipates then swim back to shore at an angle away from the rip current. 

Let the waves do the work. If no help is available and you need to get back to the beach on your own, swim with the waves back toward the beach. Take your time and remember to duck under the larger waves.

Again, go with the flow and soon the waves will push you back toward the beach. For more information on Rip Currents visit