Rip currents are a major reason for beach rescues, more common than jellyfish or sharks. Recently, several incidents involving rip currents in Florida led to deaths. The National Weather Service reported many such incidents in U.S. waters this year, affecting places like Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Every year, rip currents cause about 100 drownings in the U.S., with more than 80 percent of beach rescues due to them. These currents can form near low spots on the beach, jetties, or piers. They can happen in calm or stormy weather and move very fast, up to eight feet per second, which makes them hard to deal with even for strong swimmers. Experts advise not panicking if you find yourself in a rip current. Instead of trying to catch a wave to swim directly back to shore, which can exhaust you, swim parallel to the shore to escape the current.

Beaches use colored flags to indicate swimming risk: red (high danger), yellow (medium), green (low), purple (dangerous sea creatures), and double red (beach closed). The National Weather Service forecasts rip currents up to six days ahead for different coastal areas. It is strongly recommended that untrained individuals avoid rescuing others and seek assistance from lifeguards or by calling 911. For safety, beachgoers should swim near lifeguard stations, avoid swimming alone, ensure adult supervision, and assess their swimming abilities beforehand.