Pacifica State Beach – Hazards

WARNING

RIP CURRENT

This beach is known for a strong Rip Current, Large Waves & Under Tow

Please read below how to escape this hazard.

Rip currents occur when water rushes through a low point in a sandbar. Since waves keep pushing more water into the basin between the sandbar and the beach, the rip current may continue for several minutes, or even several hours. Some rip currents are brief occurrences, but others are long-term fixtures of an area.

HOW TO ESCAPE A RIP CURRENT

If you get caught up in a rip current, it’s crucial that you keep your wits about you. Your first instinct may be to swim against the current, back to shallow waters. In most cases, even if you’re a strong swimmer, this will only wear you out. The current is too strong to fight head-on.

Instead, swim sideways, parallel to the beach (see illustration below). This will get you out of the narrow outward current, so you can swim back in with the waves helping you along. If it’s too hard to swim sideways while you’re being dragged through the water, just wait until the current carries you past the sandbar. The water will be much calmer there, and you can get clear of the rip current before heading back in.