Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that pull swimmers away from the shore. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. They are common along the U.S. coastline even when the skies are clear. As more people head to the beach this summer, rip current rescues will rise—as, unfortunately, will deaths. On average more than one hundred people die each year from rip currents.
NOAA, the U.S. Lifesaving Association, and the NPS, are working to reduce the death toll by educating people about the danger of rip currents and how to avoid them or survive if caught in one.
If you get caught in the grip of a rip current:
Last updated: May 22, 2018