What is a rip current, and how to get out of one


After three surfers died in a rip current in Cornwall, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has advice on what to do if you encounter one.

You can spot a rip current by looking for a rippled patch of sea amid otherwise calm water. There might also be foam on the water’s surface, debris floating out to sea or discoloured, brown water caused by sand being stirred up from the seabed.

“Rip currents sound complicated but they are essentially fast flowing bodies of water that can drag people and debris away from the shoreline,” said Greg Spray, RNLI lifeguard manager for Newquay and Padstow.

“Rips can be very difficult to spot, but sometimes can be identified by a channel of churning, choppy water or debris on the sea’s surface. They can also form around permanent structures in the sea, like piers or sea walls. So please bear this in mind if you find yourself swimming close to these.”

See Telegraph Travel

Photo by Victoria Reay

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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