RIP CURRENT DANGER “HIGH”: TIPS TO RECOGNIZE & SURVIVE

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has changed the rip current risk for our area to “high” based on existing and anticipated severe weather conditions.

Rip currents, also known as rip tides, are strong narrow currents moving away from shore. They form as waves travel from deep to shallow water. The currents are most dangerous during high surf conditions because the wave height and wave period increase and can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Illustration details how rip tides (or currents) form in the ocean.  Photo courtesy of NOAA.

The strongest rip currents attain speeds reaching eight feet per second. More people die from rip currents (approximately 100) than from shark attacks or lightning. According to the US Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are attributed to rip currents.

In partnership with NOAA, the NJ Sea Grant Consortium shared tips to identify and survive rip currents along the Jersey Shore coastline.

The top rip current safety precaution is to recognize their extreme danger and always swim at beaches with lifeguards.

As well, every beach-goer should be on the lookout for the following signs of rip currents, according to the NJ Sea Grant Consortium:  a channel of churning, choppy water, a defined ocean area having a notable difference in water color, a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward and a break in incoming wave pattern.

Swimmers should be aware of the following keys to survive being caught in a rip current:  remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly, don’t fight the current – swim out of the current in a direction parallel to the shoreline and when out of the current swim towards shore, if you are unable to swim out of the current tread water even if that means momentarily floating father away from the shoreline and draw attention to yourself by facing the shore waving your arms for help.

If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard and call 911. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions to stay calm and float.

For more rip current information, visit NJSeaGrant.org.

Richard@TheBPlot.com

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