TAMPA, Fla. — They can be found on many beaches every day and they can be deadly.
What are rip currents and how do you get out of one if caught?
Rip currents are narrow, channeled water currents that flow horizontally away from the shore, according to Visit Florida. They typically form at breaks in sandbars or near structures, like piers and jetties, according to the National Weather Service.
Last year, 27 people in Florida were killed from them, according to the National Weather Service. A majority of rip current deaths take place on days when beach conditions seem to be perfect, according to National Geographic.
If you're caught in a rip current, NWS says to do the following:
- Relax — Rip currents don't pull you under.
Rip currents can be hard to spot, but look for the following clues:
- A channel of churning, choppy water
- A color change in a particular area
- A line of seaweed, foam or debris moving gradually towards the sea
- A break in the incoming wave pattern
Remember to always check beach conditions before you go. Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium has this beach condition reporting system you can use.