Lifeguards urge people to be cautious of rip currents

This is an aerial close-up photo of a rip current off the coast.
This is an aerial close-up photo of a rip current off the coast.

Posted by Paige Bresky - email

Hurricane Danielle is far out over the Atlantic, but the storm is bringing dangerous rip currents to the East Coast.

Florida is definitely feeling the effects.

Lifeguards have rescued dozens of swimmers and surfers this weekend.

They remind you to be careful.

Rip Current Safety:

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes, and they can be deadly.

Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers, according to the United States Lifesaving Association. More than 100 drownings due to rip currents occur every year in the United States. More than 80 percent of water rescues on surf beaches are due to rip currents.

The greatest safety precaution you can take is to recognize the danger of rip currents and always remember to swim at beaches with lifeguards. If caught in a rip current, how you respond could make the difference between life and death.

Rip currents are often not readily or easily identifiable to the average beachgoer. For your safety, it's important be aware of this major surf zone hazard. Look for any of the following clues, which may indicate the presence of rip currents:

  • a channel of churning, choppy water
  • an area having a notable difference in water color
  • a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
  • a break in the incoming wave pattern

Tip: Polarized sunglasses make it easier to see the rip current clues provided above.

Source: National Weather Service