How to spot a Rip Current?
This rip current can be identified clearly by the lack of breakers, where the water is moving offshore.
This rip is less obvious, but can be identified by the darker water cutting between the waves.
• Rip currents (sometimes incorrectly called rip tides) are seaward-directed flows of water. They are usually created by the break in a sand bar or another topographical feature on the beach surface.
• Rip currents are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches worldwide. In the UK, over 60% of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents.
• The offshore current is fed from either side on the shoreline by the oncoming waves either side of it. Once the outward current has created a small channel, the current can grow faster as the channel deepens.
• Drifter measurements of beach rip currents around the world showed that beach rips often flow in a circular pattern. On average, most of the drifters recirculated within the surf zone and only occasionally exited further offshore.
• Rips current flow speeds are typically 1-2 mph but rip pulsations can reach 4 mph, which is faster than an elite swimmer.
• Topographic Rips are rip currents that form around permanent structures.
Known Rip Current Locations in the UK
What to do if you get caught in a Rip Current?
- Don’t panic.
- For competent swimmers or paddlers, try to paddle/swim sideways to get yourself out of the rip.
- If you cannot do this, then tread water and wave your arms to call for help.