Rip Currents: Don't get sucked out to sea!

Rip Currents: Don't get sucked out to sea!

By Christopher Lynch I Co-Founder

By Christopher Lynch I Co-Founder

The La Jolla Beaches in and around La Jolla Cove are beautiful but as always with the ocean, never underestimate it. Especially if you’re going to swim over and explore the sea caves, it’s important to be aware of the most common ocean danger: Rip Currents.

Summer is upon us, which means hot sunny days, warmer water and people swarming the beaches to play in the sand and in the surf. While the beach is a wonderful place to have a great time, it’s good to remember that the ocean is the most powerful force on our planet and to be mindful of potential dangers. Rip currents are a hazard that is responsible for hundreds of drownings and more than 100,000 lifeguard rescues each year.

The La Jolla Beaches in and around La Jolla Cove are beautiful but as always with the ocean, never underestimate it. Especially if you’re going to swim over and explore the sea caves, it’s important to be aware of the most common ocean danger: Rip Currents.

Summer is upon us, which means hot sunny days, warmer water and people swarming the beaches to play in the sand and in the surf. While the beach is a wonderful place to have a great time, it’s good to remember that the ocean is the most powerful force on our planet and to be mindful of potential dangers. Rip currents are a hazard that is responsible for hundreds of drownings and more than 100,000 lifeguard rescues each year.

Survive a Rip Current
Survive a Rip Current

What is a rip current?

A rip current is a powerful, fast-moving channel of water flowing outward from the beach out through the surf zone. Most rips are in water from knee deep to chest high. Rip currents can be hard to identify for the average beach-goer and are very dangerous for the inexperienced swimmer. Rip currents move faster than an Olympic swimmer and many panicked swimmers caught in the pull of rip try to swim straight to the shore. This is like getting on a treadmill that’s going faster than you can run. If you’re caught in a rip and you can stand, then wade back to shore, if you can’t stand then swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the rip. Above all, stay calm.

What is a rip current?

A rip current is a powerful, fast-moving channel of water flowing outward from the beach out through the surf zone. Most rips are in water from knee deep to chest high. Rip currents can be hard to identify for the average beach-goer and are very dangerous for the inexperienced swimmer. Rip currents move faster than an Olympic swimmer and many panicked swimmers caught in the pull of rip try to swim straight to the shore. This is like getting on a treadmill that’s going faster than you can run. If you’re caught in a rip and you can stand, then wade back to shore, if you can’t stand then swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the rip. Above all, stay calm.

How to identify a rip current:

Rip currents often occur on ideal days of weather driven by offshore swells generated by a distant tropical storm. While hard to identify, some things to look for include: Choppy water flowing away from the shore, darker swaths of water or churned up sandy colored water, a break in the oncoming wave pattern giving an area a deceptively calm appearance, debris, and seaweed flowing seaward. Lifeguards are always on the lookout for rip currents and will help keep swimmers and waders away from them, but rip currents can form quickly in the ever-changing conditions of the ocean.

Being able to identify and avoid rip currents will help keep your fun in the surf safe. And remember, should you find yourself caught in a rip: Don’t Panic! Stay calm. Swim parallel to the shore. Have a good summer!

How to identify a rip current:

Rip currents often occur on ideal days of weather driven by offshore swells generated by a distant tropical storm. While hard to identify, some things to look for include: Choppy water flowing away from the shore, darker swaths of water or churned up sandy colored water, a break in the oncoming wave pattern giving an area a deceptively calm appearance, debris, and seaweed flowing seaward. Lifeguards are always on the lookout for rip currents and will help keep swimmers and waders away from them, but rip currents can form quickly in the ever-changing conditions of the ocean.

Being able to identify and avoid rip currents will help keep your fun in the surf safe. And remember, should you find yourself caught in a rip: Don’t Panic! Stay calm. Swim parallel to the shore. Have a good summer!

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