Already this year, the Jersey shore has seen more fatalities and injuries related to rip currents than in all of the 2016 summer season. Rip currents are strong, swift channels of water that can carry swimmers out to sea before they even realize the danger. These currents move at speeds ranging from one to eight feet per second – faster than even an Olympic swimmer can swim. While rip currents rarely pull swimmers under water, they can pull them far from the shoreline. That’s when panic sets in. Swimmers who try to swim against the current tire out and can either drown or suffer injuries that require hospitalization.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) advises beach-goers to check the surf conditions before venturing into the water and, if you do get caught in a rip current, stay calm. See NOAA’s video for more rip current safety tips.