Rip Currents on the Jersey Shore: What to Know
NEW JERSEY – With the return of the summer beach season, there’s also a return of one of the biggest dangers of going in the water: rip currents.
Rip currents lead to drownings every summer on the Jersey Shore, and rescuers up and down the coast perform hundreds of rescues of people caught there. There is, however, one common denominator in most tear current deaths: swimming on an unsupervised beach.
Ocean water can be deceptive. Seemingly calm waves can hide powerful rip currents in the waves, ready to pull you from shore and sea.
“Good weather on the beach doesn’t always mean it’s safe to swim or even play in the shallows,” thesaid. “Rip currents often form on calm, sunny days.”
The National Weather Service has information on how to spot a rip current, what to do if you get caught in one, and how you can save yourself if help isn’t nearby.
Rip currents are powerful, narrow, fast moving water channels that are common along the coast. The water in a rip stream is a natural treadmill that travels at an average speed of 1 to 2 feet per second and has been recorded up to 8 feet per second, faster than an Olympic swimmer.
To avoid getting caught in a rip current, follow these rules:
- Swim only in supervised areas
- Avoid swimming in the holes between the sand bars
- Do not swim during periods of rough surf
- Watch for discolored or wavy water areas
- Never swim alone
If you get caught in a rip current:
Panicked swimmers often try to fight a rip current by swimming straight to shore, which can cause fatigue and drowning. Instead of:
- Relax and float for . Keep calm can your life.
- Do not try to swim directly on the shore. Swim along the shore until you escape the pull of the current.
- Once free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current towards the shore.
- If you feel like you can’t reach the shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help.
Remember: when in doubt, don’t go out.
The National Meteorological Service released a video with information and advice. Watch it here.
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