Ocean Safety

Rip Curents
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers. Rip current speeds are typically 1-2 feet per second. However, speeds as high as 8 feet per second have been measured--this is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint! Thus, rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Over 100 drownings due to rip currents occur every year in the United States.More than 80% of water rescues on surf beaches are due to rip currents. Rip currents can occur at any surf beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes.

How to Avoid and Survive Rip Currents
Learn how to swim! Never swim alone. Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out! Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard protected beach. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly. Don’t fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help. If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 911. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

West Newport Beach has 8 Rock Groins
It is very common for a rip current to develop near the rock groins. There are also holes and trenches in the sand near these structures. Avoid swimming or wading near the rocks in order to avoid dangerous situations.

  Rip Current Warning

Lifeguard Flag System
The colored flags that you see on the lifeguard tower work like a stop light.


Green     -  Small waves. Rip currents may be present           


Yellow    -  Moderate conditions. Larger waves. Rip currents are present


Red         -  Hazardous conditions. Large waves. Expert ocean swimmers only!


Blackball - No surfboards or skimboards due to crowds. Bodyboards are OK,
                   except at the Wedge. 



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