Rip Currents

Overview

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-moving water that are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts of the U.S., as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes. Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer. Panicked swimmers often try to counter a rip current by swimming straight back to shore-putting themselves at risk of drowning because of fatigue.

Check the local rip current risk level

Are you wave safe?

  • Always respect the power of the ocean.
  • Choose guarded beaches when possible.
  • Check your local weather and tides, observe conditions before entering water and throughout the day.
  • When entering the water, turn knees and hips sideways to help keep your balance.
  • Duck under waves, do not dive.
  • Never turn your back on the waves.
  • Keep children within arms reach and never take your eyes off of them.
  • Protect yourself before helping others.
View All FAQs