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Surf Zone Forecast
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NOAA Rip Current Information Web Site

rip current safety sign

Rip Current Safety Tips

Please swim in life guarded areas. Flash rip currents and/or rip currents in the vicinity of fixed structures such as piers and jetties can occur at any time. Talk to the lifeguards to learn about any and all hazards in the surf!!

When at the beach:

    • Swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
    • Never swim alone.
    • Learn how to swim in the surf.  It's not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
    • Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
    • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
    • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
    • Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
    • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.

If caught in a rip current:

    • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
    • Never fight against the current.
    • Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
    • Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
    • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
    • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

If you see someone in trouble, don't become a victim too:

    • Get help from a lifeguard.
    • If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.
    • Throw the rip current victim something that floats--a lifejacket, a cooler, an inflatable ball.
    • Yell instructions on how to escape.
    • Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

National Weather Service
175 Brookhaven Ave. Bldg. NWS-1
Upton, NY 11973

Page last modified:Jul 25, 2010
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