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Rip Currents Warning Issued For Saturday

The rough water and windy conditions at the beach have caused the National Weather Service to declare a High Rip Current Risk for the entire New Jersey coastline from Sandy Hook to Cape May as well as the Long Island south coast and Delaware coasts.Winds of 20 knots are blowing out of the northeast and ocean conditions are rough with 4-7 foot-waves creating ideal conditions for rip currents to develop and are considered a threat to all swimmers.

Belmar beaches are closed today due to the conditions according to the Asbury Park Press.

WHAT IS A RIP CURRENT?

According to the National Weather Service, rip currents can occur along any coastline that features breaking waves. Scientific investigations of wave and current interactions along the coast have shown that rip currents are likely present on most beaches every day as a component of the complex pattern of nearshore circulation.

As waves travel from deep to shallow water, they eventually break near the shoreline. As waves break, they generate currents that flow in both the offshore (away from the coast) and the alongshore directions. Currents flowing away from the coast are called rip currents.

Rip current
How rip currents form (NOAA)

How to Identify Rip Currents

Look for a channel of churning or choppy water or an area with a recognizable difference in water color. Pay attention to any lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward or any breaks in incoming wave patterns.

Signs that a rip current is present are very subtle and difficult for the average beachgoer to identify. Look for differences in the water color, water motion, incoming wave shape or breaking point compared to adjacent conditions. Look for any of these clues:

  • Channel of churning, choppy water
  • Area having a notable difference in water color
  • Line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward
  • Break in the incoming wave pattern
  • One, all or none the clues may be visible.

What To Do If You Get Caught In A Rip Current

  • Try to remain calm to conserve energy.
  • Don’t fight the current.
  • Think of it like a treadmill you can’t turn off. You want to step to the side of it.
  • Swim across the current in a direction following the shoreline.
  • When out of the current, swim and angle away from the current and towards shore.
  • If you can’t escape this way, try to float or calmly tread water. Rip current strength eventually subsides offshore. When it does, swim towards shore.
  • If at any time you feel you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.

The National Weather Service contributed to this story.

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