Hazard Map Threat Levels Safety & Impact
Graphical Hazardous Weather Outlook
Rip Current Threat Index

The "Rip Current Hazard Map" depicts the local threat of rip currents for specified surf zones along the coast.  A rip current is a narrow channel of water which flows outward from the surf zone which can carry even a strong experienced swimmer into deeper water beyond the sand bar.  Attempts to swim directly back to shore against the current can lead to exhaustion and drowning.  Remember, it is normal for rip currents to occasionally occur.  However, there are certain weather circumstances which promote an increase in the frequency and intensity of rip currents when compared to normal.   

Rip Current Threat Level

Threat  Level Descriptions

Extreme

"An Extreme Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support extreme rip currents (very strong and very large) which are of significantly greater than average intensity.  It will be dangerous for anyone entering the surf due to the overwhelming strength of the seaward pull.

High

"A High Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support very strong rip currents which are of much greater than average intensity.  It will be dangerous for anyone entering the surf due to the overwhelming strength of the seaward pull.

Moderate

"A Moderate Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support strong rip currents which are of greater than average intensity.  Rip currents will have a seaward pull capable of pulling even experienced ocean swimmers into deeper water.

Low

."A Low Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support rip currents which are of average but increasing intensity (approaching strong), especially near jetties and piers.  Rip currents will have a seaward pull capable of pulling inexperienced ocean swimmers into deeper water.

Very Low

"A Very Low Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support rip currents which are of average intensity (not unusually strong), but with the presence of a strong long shore current.  The drift of the long shore current will increase the chance that a particular swimmer may encounter a rip current.  Rip currents will have a seaward pull capable of pulling inexperienced ocean swimmers into deeper water.

Non-Threatening

"No Discernable Threat to Life from Rip Currents Compared to Normal."

Wave conditions in the surf zone support a few rip currents as normally present and of average intensity.

Note: If caught in a rip current, remain calm and signal for help.  Swim parallel to the coast until you are free from the outgoing current and then return to shore.  Do not try to swim directly back to shore against the current as exhaustion is the typical cause of most rip current-related drownings.  Remember, it is always best to swim at beaches where lifeguards are present and on duty; always heed their advice of the beach patrol.  Never swim in the ocean alone.  

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