NOAA EDUCATES BEACHGOERS ON HOW TO BREAK THE GRIP OF THE RIP®
2, 2006 — Alerting beachgoers to the threat of rip currents and how
to escape their strong and potentially fatal grip is the focus of NOAA's
national Rip Current Awareness
Week, June 4-10, 2006. (Click NOAA image for larger view
of Rip Current Awareness sign. Click
here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
"Checking the rip current forecast, swimming on guarded beaches and knowing how to escape a rip current's grip can be life-saving actions," said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of the NOAA National Weather Service. NOAA National Weather Service forecast offices that serve coastal areas issue outlooks, such as surf zone forecasts, that indicate when rip currents are a threat. These are available online, through the media and are broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.
Moving at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer and can easily overpower its victim. Ian Crocker, four-time Olympic medalist for the U.S. swim team, holds the men's world record for completing the 100 meter butterfly in 50.40 seconds—a pace of nearly six feet per second. "A rip current is one competitor all swimmers should avoid challenging," said Crocker, who has joined NOAA in educating the public on rip currents through his participation in public service announcements.
Rip currents are prevalent along the East, Gulf, and West coasts in addition to the Great Lakes. Rip current education is critical to every swimmer and especially those who visit the beach infrequently and may be unfamiliar with this swimming hazard.
"No matter how often you swim or how good you swim, rip currents are a powerful force. If caught in a rip current, don't fight it! Swim parallel to the shore and swim back to land at an angle," said Spencer Rogers, coastal hazards specialist with NOAA's Sea Grant, in North Carolina. Sea Grant is NOAA's primary university-based program, located in each coastal state, to promote better understanding, conservation and use of America's coastal resources.
agency of the U.S. Department of
Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national
safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal
and marine resources.
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