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View Poll Results: Which coast has the worst rip currents?
West coast (Pacific) 9 69.23%
East coast (Atlantic) 3 23.08%
Both are the same I think. 1 7.69%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-15-2009, 08:08 PM
 
Location: right under the ceiling fan ;)
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Hi all,
I am not sure where to put this,
[note to mod: if this is in the wrong section I am sorry for your trouble in moving this thread]
But I wanted to ask you which coast has the WORST rip currents, pacific coast or atlantic? I ask this cause FL is having all kinds of warnings on atlantic beaches cause of these NASTY rip currents due to Ida.
I have never been to the coast anywhere north of NJ (I have been to NJ beachs and south of Jersey beachs, VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL) and I have only been to Long Beach CA once.
Thanks
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Rip currents can occur anywhere. They are more dependent on local wave action than which ocean a beach borders. The East Coast has more bathers due to warm water and larger populations, so rip currents kill more people there than on the West Coast. The East Coast is also mostly flat beaches which develop sandbars and rip currents. The West Coast has larger surf and stronger currents, but the coastline is more varied with rocky points and outcroppings making it more difficult for casual beach goers to get into a rip current in the first place.

If you are at the beach and thinking of swimming, look for rip currents first. A rip will appear as an area of turbulent water. Waves normally break in long even lines over sandbars but will not break evenly where there is a hole in the sandbar and a rip current.

Rips get stronger after a series of set waves (larger waves) as the water brought in rushes back out to sea. If you are caught in a rip you will first become aware of it because you swim toward shore but make no progress. If this happens, swim parallel to the beach for 50-60 yards. This will get you out of the rip and then you'll be able to swim back in. Even a strong swimmer can't fight their way in against a strong rip, so don't try. You won't get swept out to sea, rips usually disappate within 100 yards of the beach or less, so even if you let it carry you out, you won't go far.

The key is not to panic. Even a weak swimmer can survive in deep water if they keep their head because almost everyone floats in salt water. If you are in trouble and there are surfers or lifeguards around, tread water shout for help and raise your right arm as high as you can. This is the signal that you need help. (Raising your left arm signals that someone near you needs help.) If there's no one around the helps you, pick an energy-conserving stroke (like the elementary backstroke) and slowly swim toward shore. Eventually you'll make a landing somewhere.

Rips and dangerous currents are strongest around man-made structures like piers, jettys, and breakwaters. Avoid swimming near these until you learn how to read the ocean.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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Long shore currents on the West Coast are much more intense than on the East Coast - these are the root cause of rips. The reason is our continental shelf is almost non existent and there are no barrier islands to diffract currents and wave energy.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
Long shore currents on the West Coast are much more intense than on the East Coast - these are the root cause of rips. The reason is our continental shelf is almost non existent and there are no barrier islands to diffract currents and wave energy.
Very true.

As some one else pointed out about the West Coast, with the exception of surfers or parts of Southern California you don't have many people venturing very far into the surf due to the cold water temperature, unlike the East Coast which is swimmable throughout the warmer months.

If you want to talk about a dangerous spot for rip-currents though check out Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I think it was back in 1998 that seven people drowned at that beach.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
Very true.

As some one else pointed out about the West Coast, with the exception of surfers or parts of Southern California you don't have many people venturing very far into the surf due to the cold water temperature, unlike the East Coast which is swimmable throughout the warmer months.

If you want to talk about a dangerous spot for rip-currents though check out Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I think it was back in 1998 that seven people drowned at that beach.
Yea you don't really want to go swimming in Northern California. Our beaches are very dangerous. Most people tend just splash their feet or if you can handle the freezing temps go waist deep at the most.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Pasadena
7,412 posts, read 8,232,570 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcee510 View Post
Yea you don't really want to go swimming in Northern California. Our beaches are very dangerous. Most people tend just splash their feet or if you can handle the freezing temps go waist deep at the most.
True. I once nearly drowned swimming off Sea Cliff beach near Santa Cruz. My brothers & I got swept out on rip currents and ended up 100 yards from shore. I prefer the warmer water in SoCal but rip currents happen down here also. Once I went swimming before breakfast in Laguna beach and within 30 minutes the current carried me about 20 blocks north of where I went into the ocean.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Ro cha cha, NY
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Very little waves on the east coast. It's because there is no coral reef like you will find in the west. Thanks to coral reef, you will find the larger waves and better conditions for surfing in the west. So, I conclude the west is the best for surfing. Just thought I'd throw that in there..
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Pasadena
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supermanpansy View Post
Very little waves on the east coast. It's because there is no coral reef like you will find in the west. Thanks to coral reef, you will find the larger waves and better conditions for surfing in the west. So, I conclude the west is the best for surfing. Just thought I'd throw that in there..
There are reefs along the West Coast but not coral reefs. Reefs don't make better surf btw.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by californio sur View Post
There are reefs along the West Coast but not coral reefs. Reefs don't make better surf btw.
What we call reefs are just rock outcroppings (they would be called shoals back east, whereas out here, a shoal is sand or mud but not rock).
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