Article Title

National Severe Weather Week - Rip Currents

Post Date

Rollup Image

National Severe Weather Week - Rip Currents


Rip Currents

Pictured: Rip currents are powerful currents moving away from shore.
Click to enlarge image.

As part of Florida's Severe Weather Awareness Week, Let's highlight the deadliest weather-related hazard – rip currents.

Rip currents have accounted for more than 300 drownings along Florida's Gulf and Atlantic beaches since 1995. In fact, rip currents kill more people in Florida in an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning combined. In 2017, at least 13 people lost their lives due to rip currents or high surf.


Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves
Even the Great Lakes

A rip current is a strong channel of water moving away from the shore at beaches. Rip currents are part of the natural near-shore ocean circulation and are quite common. Rip currents typically form along the beach at breaks in the nearshore sandbar and near structures such as jetties and piers. Rip currents form when water, piled against the shore, begins to return to deeper water.

Rip currents are dangerous because they can pull swimmers away from shore and into deeper offshore waters. They become especially dangerous when swimmers panic and struggle against the current while being pulled farther and farther away from the beach.

Traveling up to 5mph or 8-ft/sec, rip currents move faster than an Olympic swimmer.


To Escape a Rip Current:
Don't panic & Don't fight the current.
Swim in a direction parallel to the shoreline either toward your left or right.
When free of the current, swim at an angle back toward shore.


More information on rip currents and marine hazards and what you can do to protect yourself and others can be found at,, and