• S H O R T S H O R T S •
RIP CURRENT WEBINAR
ONLINE VIDEO SHOWS HOW TO SURVIVE RIP CURRENTS By Fritts Causby
THE National Weather Service
(NWS) posted a free webinar
on its website to help people
identify rip currents, escape,
and help others. It details basic safety
information, statistics, visual clues and
why rip currents are so dangerous. The
approximately hour-long event, which is
fully captioned and includes an American
Sign Language interpreter, can be found
Steve Pfaff of the NWS begins the
webinar with a discussion about how rips
— strong, narrow currents that flow away
from the shore — typically occur within a
short distance from the beach.
“Even though they’re in a small area, they
have significant implications to people all
across our country,” he says. “As far as the
Carolinas go, we average about 10 fatal-ities
per year. This makes it the number
one weather-related killer in the Carolinas,
and thousands of lives are lost each year
around the world.”
Around 100 people nationwide die each
year from rip currents. The goal of the
webinar is to prevent fatalities by helping
beachgoers become more self-sufficient in
“Building community resiliency needs to
be inclusive of everybody so that we can keep people safe,” Pfaff says.
In the webinar, Pfaff compares rip currents to a watery treadmill running away from the beach.
“If you don’t know how to get off that treadmill, you’re going to get into danger really quick,” he says.
Rip currents generally have a muddy appearance and choppy water, no breaking waves inside of them, and a darker appearance
The N.C. Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provided an American
Sign Language interpreter and captioning for a Rip Current Basics webinar presented
by the National Weather Service Wilmington N.C.
areas. They usually
end just after the
point where waves
break but can push
of yards offshore.
“The best option
is to just try to
relax, and swim
out of the rip cur-rent
parallel,” says Mike
Kochasic of the
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
Rip currents are powerful
currents of water moving
away from shore. They can
sweep even the strongest
swimmer away from shore.
If at all possible, swim near
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE