NC Outer Banks: Beware of Rip Tides
Growing up near the NC Outer Banks, my family understood rip tides. We knew to be careful in the ocean, and we were taught from a young age what to do if we were ever caught by the rip tides.
Fortunately I don't recall personally experiencing the rip tides. But I do have friends who have lost family members due to the ocean's under tow. It still amazes me that more information is not prominent in each and every hotel room and rental property warning of the dangers of ocean swimming.
When swimming at the Outer Banks, beware of undertow currents or rip tides. These currents can be extremely dangerous and even experienced swimmers can be pulled out to sea.
What is a Rip Tide?
- "The Grip of the Rip" from the NAOO
An educational video and links to more information about recognizing and escaping rip tides.
Three main types of currents occur along the Outer Banks: littoral, backwash, and seaward. Littoral currents are common and move southward. A backwash current on a steeply sloping beach can pull swimmers toward deeper water, but its power is swiftly checked by incoming waves.
Rip tides, or seaward currents, are the most dangerous currents, and though not as common as backwash and littoral currents, rip tides will carry a swimmer out from shore, sometimes at an angle.
Should you be caught in an undertow current, swim parallel to the shoreline until you are out of the current, then swim diagnolly to shore. If you cannot swim out of the current, float with it until it loses strength, usually just beyond the breaker line. Then swim diagnollay to shore.
Listen to local radio stations for information about surf conditions, and look for red warning flags posted along the beaches.
Life guards are not posted at all public beach accesses, so always swim with a partner.
Personally, I'm not much of an ocean swimmer anymore anyway. I prefer chlorine to marine life to keep me company under water.
Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/_ndwcopyright/hub/NC-Outer-Banks-Beware-of-Rip-Tides
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