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A rip current is a strong channel of water flowing away from the shoreline, typically through the surf line, and can occur on any shore that has breaking waves. The water flows seaward from near the shore. Typical flow is at 0.5 meters per second (1–2 feet per second), and can be as fast as 2.5 meters per second (8 feet per second). Rip currents can move to different locations on a beach break, up to tens of meters (a few hundred feet) a day. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the world's oceans, seas, and large lakes such as the Great Lakes in the United States of America and Canada. Rip currents are a source of danger for people in ocean and lake surf. They can be extremely dangerous, dragging swimmers away from the beach and leading to death by drowning when they attempt to fight the River or ocean current and become exhausted. Although a rare event, rip currents can be deadly for non-swimmers as well: a person standing waist deep in water can be dragged out into deeper waters, where they can drown if they are unable to swim and are not wearing a flotation device. Some beaches are more likely to have stronger rip currents than others, and a few are particularly well known for them, the overall topography of the area being the main factor. Rip currents cause approximately 100 deaths annually in the United States. Over 80% of rescues by surf beach lifeguards are due to rip currents. Rip currents are stronger when the surf is rough (such as during high onshore winds, or when a strong hurricane is far offshore) or when the tide is low. Rip currents can potentially occur wherever strong longshore variability in wave breaking exists. This variability may be caused by sandbars (as above) or even by crossing wave trains. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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