The Endless Summer
Rip Currents are Deadly Killers
Golden Silhouette of a Man at the Beach
Golden Silhouette of a Man at the Beach
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First, what is a Rip Current? It is a flow of water so powerful that it can pull an experienced swimmer out to sea. Rip currents form after a wave brings water to the shoreline. As the water attempts to return, underwater sandbars restrict the flow of water back into the sea. Any low spot in the sandbar then begins to concentrate the trapped water, creating a narrow and powerful flow of sea water back into the ocean. Rip currents can be as narrow a several feet wide to as wide as hundreds of yards. The strength and size of a rip current depends on the physical characteristics of the underwater sandbar and the amount of water any particular wave carries to the shoreline. The length of the rip current may extend to just beyond the line of breaking waves or continue to flow out into the ocean for hundreds of yards.
 After Glow
After Glow Art Print
Lynch, Brent
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Buy this Art Print at
The United States Lifesaving Association estimates the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on American beaches at over 100 individuals. In addition, rip currents pose a danger to lifeguards because over 80% of rescues by beach lifeguards involve swimmers trapped in rip currents.
To avoid the dangers of rip currents, swim where lifeguards are stationed and ask them where the rip currents are located. The lifeguards patrol the beaches every day and are aware of the dangerous areas.

If you do find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t panic! Think about your situation and conserve your energy. Never try to swim against the current to the shore. You will only become exhausted. You must swim parallel to the shore to get out of the rip current. Think clearly and begin swimming parallel along the shoreline. Once clear of the current, swim at an angle away from the current and towards the shore.
Map of the Ocean Floor
Map of the Ocean Floor
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Couple on Beach
Couple on Beach
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If you find yourself unable to swim out of the rip current, try floating or treading water until the current releases you. Once free from the current, swim towards shore and away from the rip current. If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help. If someone swims out to help, don’t pull them under trying to help yourself. Remain calm and follow their instructions.
If you are at the beach and see someone having trouble in the water, be careful not become a victim yourself. Look for a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 911 and throw the victim something that floats like a lifejacket, a cooler or an inflatable item like a ball or toy. Yell instructions to the victim on how to escape. If you do go in to help the victim, be careful. People drown every year trying to save someone trapped in a rip current. source
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