They are the flipside of the fun that waves and beaches can offer. All too many times we hear of tragic stories of rip currents taking people's lives, and unfortunately, it's those that are not too familiar with the sea and her ways that become the victim.
Rips occur in any state of sea, be it completely flat, or a raging 20ft winter swell. The ocean's vastness makes it impossible for it to ever fully settle and as soon as you add some other variables in the mix, such as surf, rocks, cliffs, rivers and headlands, then the equation for risk and danger intensifies.
The best advice ever given to me was from my early days of lifeguarding when my supervisor summed up what a rip current is up in 10 words..."a body of water trying to find its own level'. It is not angry, it is not out to get you, it is not going to pull you under, it just wants to level out.
Having been caught in many myself, witnessed 100's of others in trouble and also pulling a fair few to safety from them, rip currents are something that any beach goer should have a basic understanding of. Growing up on the coast offers you a way of learning these basics as a youth and retaining this vital knowledge for a life time. However, how do we communicate these fundamental life saving learnings to those from inner city areas, how do we make it appealing, how do we make it stick? Well, the below link is a great 3 minute clip from the NOAA that should be watched by every human on this planet, as taking this simple advice can save your life, and also offer you the basic understanding to be able to educate others.
If the ocean is new to you then always stick to life guarded beaches...