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Be Prepared: Everything you wanted to know about Rip Currents but were afraid to ask (U.S. Weather Service)

"...Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers....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." -- from the website.

How, when and where do rip currents form; how to identify rip currents; how to avoid becoming trapped; best courses of action for survival if caught; how to assist someone struggling to escape; a note on erroneous terms and myths about rip currents; an extensive faq; plus dramatic real-life rip current stories.