skip to main content

Beach Safety - How to Identify Rips

Our beaches can give us some of our best summer memories but can also create potential risk with rips creating more rescues and emergencies than any other beach incident. 

It is so important that all Kiwis learn to recognise a rip and other potential dangers caused by currents so they can enter the water safely for a great beach experience.


Always swim at a beach patrolled by Surf Lifeguards and swim between the flags.


Danger! rips and current. Here's a fun way to learn how to identify rips at the beach.

How to identify a rip

Download the poster here.


A rip is identified by:

  • Calm stretches of water between waves
  • Fewer breaking waves
  • A smoother surface with much smaller waves, with waves breaking either side
  • Discoloured or murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom
  • Debris floating out to sea
  • A rippled look, when the water around is generally calm


How to survive a rip

  • Don't panic. A rip will not suck you under the water. But it will take you out, away from the shore. 
  • Raise your hand for help
  • Swim towards white water, across the rip current, but not against it
  • Float or swim with the white water. It will take you back to shore



Watch the Rip Current Hero Documentary


Beach Safety - How to Identify Rips

+ Text Size -