American Red Cross
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers and account for more than 80% of beach rescues each year. Rip currents are powerful channels of fast-moving water that can be found along any shore that has breaking waves. They are very common in Florida and can be found along our beaches at any time during the year.
How do they form?
Forces of incoming waves, water levels and the shape of the land under the sea are all contributing factors to where and when a rip current may form. These currents can typically carry objects out to sea at 1-2 feet per second but can reach speeds of 8 feet per second. (That’s faster than an Olympic Swimmer!)
Swimming in a pool is NOT the same as swimming at a surf beach with crashing waves, winds and currents that can change suddenly. Rip currents can exhaust even the strongest of swimmers and each year, lifeguards rescue tens of thousands of people with 80% of these being rescues from rip currents.
Safety tip #1:
The best way to survive rip currents is to avoid them. Before laying out the beach blankets, ask a lifeguard where the rip currents are active and where you and your family should swim.