You might have heard them referred to as “undertow” or “rip tides,” but these ocean phenomena are actually rip currents. Rip currents are narrow currents in the surf zone that move quickly away from shore. A typical rip current ranges from 50-100 feet wide and can extend 100 yards or more offshore. It can reach speeds of over 5 miles per hour – that’s faster than an Olympic swimmer! That makes them dangerous and potentially deadly, and scientists want to learn more about them so we can better forecast when and where they will form – and keep beachgoers safe.
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