We recently posted an article on How to Identify and Survive a Rip Current. Now, we would like to inform you on the dangers of a Rip Tide. A rip tide is a powerful current caused by the tide pulling water through an inlet along a barrier beach. When there is a falling or ebbing tide, the water is flowing strongly through an inlet toward the ocean, especially one stabilized by jetties.
During slack tide, the water is not moving for a short time until the flooding or rising tide starts pushing the sea water landward through the inlet. Fishermen are well aware of these tidal flows and make their plans accordingly. Riptides also occur in constricted areas such as bays and lagoons where there are no waves. These powerful reversing currents are also named tidal jets by coastal engineers, and they carry large quantities of sand which form banks in the ocean opposite the inlet channel. (Source: http://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/11282-the-differences-between-rip-currents-undertows-and-rip-tides)
Although rip tides and rip currents appear very similar to each other, here is a great explanation of the difference between the two:
- Rip currents are strong, narrow jets of water which move away from the beach and into the ocean. They can flow quickly, typically around 5 miles per hour; they aren’t predictable and are a result of the shape of the coastline.
- A riptide is caused by the moon’s gravitational pull and is a predictable rise and fall of the water level.
Escaping a rip tide is also very similar to escaping a rip current. As mentioned in this news report hosted by Sally Showman, the most important step to survival for both rip tides and currents, is not to fight the direction of the water, remain calm and focus on floating. Please visit our recent blog for more information on how to identify and remove yourself from these unpredictable dangers as safely and calmly as possible.
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