Why are rip currents dangerous?

Rip currents pull people away from shore. Their speed can vary from moment to moment and can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the surf. They can sweep the strongest swimmer away from shore.

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1. What are rip currents?
2. Why are rip currents dangerous?
3. How do I know if a rip current is present?
4. What do I do if I'm caught in a rip current?
5. How do I help someone else?
6. Where can I get more information?