Rip currents pose greater risk to swimmers than to shoreline

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Washington, October 14 (ANI): A new study has indicated that rip currents pose greater risk to swimmers than to shoreline.

Rip currents, which are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore, represent a danger to human life and property.

According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents are responsible for more than one hundred deaths on US beaches each year, and if they persist long enough, they can cause beach erosion.

Henry Bokuniewicz, Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, and Ph.D. candidate Michael Slattery found that rip currents at East Hampton Village Beach lasted on average a little over one minute, not long enough to substantially alter the shoreline.

With funding from the East Hampton Beach Preservation Society and the Halpern Foundation, Dr. Bokuniewicz and graduate student Michael Slattery set up a video camera to record an image of a half mile stretch of the East Hampton Village Beach every 20 seconds.

In the images, rip currents can be detected as a gap in the line of incoming waves.

They collected over 500 hours of video images and observed hundreds of rip currents in this short stretch of coast.

The monitoring showed that the rip currents were not associated with man-made structures and they were short lived, with the most persistent rip currents lasting no more than a few minutes.

"Most rip currents we observed did not last long enough to change the character of the shoreline, although they could pose a risk to swimmers unfortunate enough to encounter them," said Dr. Bokuniewicz. (ANI)

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