WHAT IS A RIP CURRENT?
Rip currents are powerful currents which can overwhelm even experienced swimmers. They have the ability to pull a swimmer away from the safety of the shore. Panic and subsequent drowning can result.
Rip currents form when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path. This happens when there is a wave break in a sandbar nearshore or the current is diverted by a jetty or other barrier. Rip currents can extend 1,000 feet offshore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph. Some are present a few hours; others are permanent. Rip currents are more prevalent after storms. Polarized sunglasses cut glare and help to spot rip currents.
TELLTALE SIGNS OF RIP CURRENTS
This information is courtesy of the North Carolina Sea Grant Rip Current Safety Campaign.