Rip currents

Robert A. Dalrymple, Jamie H. MacMahan, Ad J.H.M. Reniers, Varjola Nelko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Rip currents are fast-moving flows, traveling “outward almost at right angles to the shore( Shepard 1936 ), creating a natural hazard for beachgoers, who suddenly find themselves in deep water. Field measurements and instrumentation, laboratory techniques, and numerical modeling have improved with time, enabling a more complete description of rip currents now. Surprisingly, there are many types of rip currents that can occur on beaches, and these currents are created by a wide variety of mechanisms that are presented here, along with numerical, physical, or field validation. We also show the potential for prediction schemes for use by lifeguards and beach managers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-581
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 21 2011


  • beach
  • circulation
  • drownings
  • instabilities
  • lifeguards
  • natural hazards
  • nearshore
  • shear waves
  • surf zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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