• Rip currents lead in surf fatalities in Florida in 2018

    By: Irene Sans

    Updated:

    Among all surf-zone fatalities, 79 percent are caused by rip currents, and the victims are mostly men between the ages of 10 and 29. Half of all surf fatalities occur along the Gulf Coast states and eastern Florida coast. Rip currents kill an average of 57 people in the U.S. every year. These deaths could have been prevented if victims would have known what to do. Florida has 570 beaches and 1,197 miles of coastline.

     

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    A rip current is a strong channel of water flowing from near the coast out past the surf zone. This powerful current can pull the strongest swimmer into the deep waters.

    Through July 31, there have been 57 rip currents deaths; 17 of them happened in Florida. The 17 deaths have occurred in:

     

    • Coral Cove Park

    • Cocoa Beach

    • Daytona Beach

    • Jupiter

    • Lido Key Beach

    • Miramar Beach

    • Navarre Beach (Pensacola)

    • Ormond-By-The-Beach

    • Panama City Beach: Seven

    • Siesta Key

    • St. Augustine Beach

     

    Rip currents can occur along all coasts during any season, and deaths due to rip currents are totally preventable.

     

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    It is best to avoid going in the water when rip currents are a threat, even a low threat. Always check with lifeguards and learn what each flag means.

    If you are caught in a rip current:

    • Do not panic.

    • Do not try to swim back to the coast -- you will be swimming against the strong current

    • and will become tired quickly.

    • The current will become weaker as it moves offshore. Swim parallel to the coast.

    • Once out of the current, you can swim back toward

    • the shore.

    Learn to recognize rip currents along the coast. Many times, rip currents can be spotted when standing on the shore looking toward
    the water.

     

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