Franklin Fact Archive
Back to Franklin Facts homepage.
Back to TV12
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 21 - RIP CURRENTS
There are patterns in the way that water moves toward the shore, and also patterns
in the way that water returns to the sea. This backwash is most commonly felt as a
broad sheet of water along the bottom. But sometimes water takes a much more dangerous
route back - in localized channels called
rip currents. These are narrow, swift flows
of water that pose a serious hazard to swimmers.
Though rip currents can form anytime, they're more of a problem during storms, when
waves are larger and lots of water is thrown toward shore. The incoming waves create
underwater sandbars, and water starts to pile up between these sandbars and the beach.
When breaks form in the sandbars, water is quickly funneled through, creating
fast-moving rip currents out to sea.
These rip currents are often so strong that trying to swim back to shore
against them only tires you out. Instead, first try swimming parallel to shore.
Eventually, you should get out of the rip current, and be able to swim back to