Paper No. 271-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM
RIP CURRENTS: TYPES AND IDENTIFICATION
Rip currents are powerful, channelized currents of water that flow offshore from beaches. These dangerous currents are the most serious hazard for beachgoers on the world’s surf beaches. There are many different types of rip currents, but the terminology has varied considerably. Five types of rip currents are identified and described: (1) bar-gap rips, (2) cusped-shore rips, (3) structurally-controlled rips, (4) flash rips, and (5) mega-rips. Each identified rip type is illustrated by photographic examples and described according to generation, detection and identification, relative threat and avoidence (e.g., escape guidance). It is proposed that this descriptive terminology be adopted in order to promote better public understanding of this silent killer that is responsible for more than 100 fatalities annually and 80% of all surf rescues in the United States.