Playing it Safe at the Beach: Riptides 101

Blog » Playing it Safe at the Beach: Riptides 101

Riptides are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers and can form along any coastline with breaking waves, even the Great Lakes. Even the strongest swimmer can get swept out to sea, especially when he or she doesn’t know what to do if the situation arises. Drownings from riptides typically occur when swimmers are unable to stay afloat and swim to shore due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills. We at Resort Collection want to raise your awareness and inform you on how to handle the situation if you or someone else happens to encounter a riptide during your stay. We urge you to take the time to familiarize yourself with these life saving tips whenever you’re Goin’ to the Beach!

Riptides Alert:

Riptides are commonly found near sandbars, jetties and piers, so keep an eye out. A common misconception is that rip currents pull you underwater—they actually pull you away from shore.

Rip Current Clues:

• a channel of churning, choppy water
• darker color surf, indicating deeper water
• murky brown water caused by sand stirred up on the bottom
• a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
• a break in the incoming wave pattern with waves breaking out to sea on both sides of rip current
• smaller unorganized waves, alongside more evenly breaking waves over a sand bar

How to Avoid & Survive Rip Currents:

1. Don’t panic and fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
2.   If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards
3. If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself:  face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
What to Do If You See Someone Else Caught In a Rip Current
1. If available, notify a lifeguard or have someone call 911 with accurate landmark.
2. Do Not Enter the Water. Many people drown trying to save someone else from a riptide current.
3. Throw them a flotation device.
4. Try not to lose sight of the victim.
Of course, the best way to avoid a rip current is to know the surf conditions before entering the water and memorize the flag alert system.
To download a PDF of the flag alert system and to sign up for text alert messages when the flags change, log on Remember to always play it safe when you’re Goin’ to the Beach—and we hope to see you soon!