Learn How To Escape A Rip With This Handy Illustrated Guide

Learn How To Escape A Rip With This Handy Illustrated Guide

If you’re planning on hitting the beach this summer, take a look at this handy guide before you dive into the water so you know how to escape a deadly rip current. It might just save your life.

This post has been updated since its original publication.

Rip currents are strong jets of water that flow away from the shore, despite the fact waves still crash against the shore. If you get caught in one, you can get pulled away from shore at speeds of up to ten feet per second ” so there may not be a an easy way to swim against it. This illustrated guide from Ted Slampyak at The Art of Manliness shows what you should do instead.

First things first, don’t panic and exhaust yourself. Keep yourself afloat with eggbeater kicks, call for a lifeguard if there’s one nearby, then assess your situation for what to do.

Try float with the current ” it may bring you back to shore. Swim parallel to the beach (toward the braking waves) until you get out of the rip current. Some rip currents are somewhere between 20 and 30.48 metres wide, so keep going until you feel the waves pushing back toward the shore.

If you start to get tired while you swim, stop and float on your back until you regain some energy. Swimmers will usually be warned of rip currents in the area ” in that case, head to the pool ” but you won’t always get a warning, so it’s good to know how to escape one just in case.

Learn How To Escape A Rip With This Handy Illustrated GuideImage: Supplied

How to Escape a Rip Current [The Art of Manliness] Illustration by Ted Slampyak.


  • The recent holiday fatalities show that this is the kind of stuff they should be teaching in how-to-swim classes, and in schools when they do the mandatory swimming lessons.

    (They do still do mandatory swimming lessons, right? They haven’t capitulated to the folks with body issues who don’t want to be seen in togs?)

    • No idea if they still do mandatory swimming lessons but it is essential so we have already signed Tiglet up to private swimming lessons.
      She is doing quite well, she is into the big girl class now and has reach the stage where she can ‘swim’ by herself with a pool noodle

    • Agree’d, but also constant refreshers are necessary – thank you for all you do surf life saving! – a family friend lost their life to a rip when we were kids and he swam for his school team. They’re crazy – his siblings were less than 3m away and couldn’t do anything.

      It’s got to be taught in schools, but also, adults will always need reminders as you need it fresh in your head if it happens.

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