Rip Current Safety

As waves travel from deep to shallow water, they will break near the shoreline. When waves break strongly in some locations and weakly in others, this can cause circulation cells which are seen as rip currents: narrow, fast-moving belts of water traveling offshore.

Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers. Rip current speeds are typically 1-2 Kmph. However, speeds as high as 8 Kmph have been measured. Thus, rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.

Rip currents can occur at any surf beach with breaking waves.

Rip Currents │ Swim Between The Flags

Rip currents generally emerge in an area of darker water. Often the surface of the water is unsettled and if there are waves, they will be breaking on either side, but not directly in the rip.

People can swept be out to sea extremely quickly in a rip current and will quickly find themselves out of their depth. They need to be aware of the flags and the signs on the beach. A sign will often indicate if there is a rip current in the area and if there is a red flag, that means it’s dangerous to swim.

Our top three tips to stay safe around rip currents: 1. Swim between the red and yellow flags. Red and yellow means its safe to swim. 2. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, remain calm, swim parallel to the beach. This will get you out of the rip current and you will be able to swim in. 3. If you can’t do this, raise your arm and a lifeguard will be there to assist you.

Only Swim At Lifeguarded Waterways

Lifeguards are present at selected beaches on weekends during June, and full time in July and August. See our most up to date list of beaches.

Technology Teaches Us More About Rip Currents

Water Safety Ireland teamed up with BlueWise Marine to raise awareness on safety at the beach using technology called the MELOA WAVY Drifter. The drifters were deployed from the shore on Lahinch Beach on Saturday 18th September, 2021.