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How to escape a rip!

Updated on May 21, 2011

1) A swimmer in distress isn't easy to spot. Make yourself as visible as possible to lifeguards/lifesavers by waving your arm back and forth while keeping afloat.

2) Once you're caught in a rip, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Even though it may seem like it at the time, you wont get dragged to New Zealand. You can tell where you are in the rip by checking your current location compared to where you entered the water.

3) The safest direction to swim is parallel to the beach, towards the nearest consistently breaking waves.

4)  You'll know your out of the rip when the water becomes lighter. Use the breaking waves to your advantage. Remember: panicking uses valuable energy, so stay calm and try to body surf back in.

5)  If you're in the unenviable position of having to do chest compressions, keep tempo with the beat of Queen's Another One Bites the Dust.


  • If you're a capable swimmer at a beach without flags and see someone drowning, your best friend will be a surfboard. Rescued swimmers are prone to panicking and could pull you down as they struggle, so position them on the board and ride the waves back in for a significantly easier rescue.
  • A headland is the best place to spot a rip. Rips are characterized by the lack of waves breaking and darker, murkier water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom.
  • If you're not a capable swimmer, don't venture out over head-height. If you're already out of your depth, remember rips are shaped like upside down tree trunks and the tide will eventually carry you to where waves are.


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    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very useful! I live off the coast in New England and we get a lot of rip-tides. It can be a scary experience and you can get pulled out very fast. Thanks for posting.