Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week - Rip Currents
A rip current is a channel of water flowing away from shore. With speeds of up to five miles per hour, and lasting anywhere from a few minutes to hours at a time, these unexpected currents can pose a threat to swimmers and boaters.
According to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, rip currents claim more lives in the state of Florida than hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and lightning combined. Knowing how to identify and react in case of a rip current could be the difference between becoming a victim of the current or living to tell the tale.
Although signs of a rip current are not always visible, there are subtleties which hint at dangers lurking underneath. Choppy or churning water, a break in wave patterns, an area with a difference in water color, or a line of foam moving in the opposite direction from incoming waves, are all indicators of rip current activity. Should of any of these signs be identified, leaving the water or refraining from entering would be the best course of action.
If you are caught in a rip current Don’t fight! Swim left or right!
- Swim – stay calm, and swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip current.
- Float – if you are unable to swim, float or tread water until you are out of the current, then swim towards shore.