Ocean Safety

Rip Current Safety

Lifeguards world wide respond to thousands of rescues that are mostly caused by rip currents just a few minutes of your time could save your life! Oceangoers must be aware of the potential for dangerous rip currents & many other ocean dangers. Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves.


Rip Currents are easy to spot look for discolored water usually carrying foam with it away from shore, you make notice waves breaking odd and choppy in area of the rip. The Best thing to do is remain calm and swim parallel in the direction the wind is blowing once you have exited the rip then swim to shore.

Rip Current Myth

A rip current is a horizontal current. Rip currents do not pull people under the water–-they pull people away from shore. Drowning deaths occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat and swim to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills.

In some regions rip currents are referred to by other, incorrect terms such as rip tides and undertow. We encourage exclusive use of the correct term – rip currents. Use of other terms may confuse people and negatively impact public education efforts.


The United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) estimates that the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on our nation’s beaches exceeds 100. Lifeguards protecting the ocean beaches of the U.S. rescue 60,000 swimmers annually, and rip currents account for over 80% of these rescues.

The National Weather Service issues a Surf Zone Forecast that includes the rip current risk for area beaches. Ocean City Surf Report fly’s colored signal flags indicating the water conditions observed in the area.

Click Here For The Rip Current Flag Definitions


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