Can
you see that patch of choppy water in the middle of the image, where no waves
are breaking? That’s a rip current - and they can be tricky to spot. Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard
Can you see that patch of choppy water in the middle of the image, where no waves are breaking? That’s a rip current - and they can be tricky to spot. 

Rip currents are strong currents running out to sea, which can drag people away from the shallows of the shoreline and out into deeper water.

They can reach 4-5mph - faster than an Olympic swimmer - and they’re a major cause of drowning around the world.

They’re not always easy to spot, so don’t get caught out: always visit a lifeguarded beach and don’t be afraid to ask lifeguards for advice.

If you do find yourself caught in a rip:

If you see anyone else in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Learn more in our step-by-step guide to escaping rip currents.