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Rip currents are the greatest hazard to swimmers at surf beaches, but studies of the percentage of rescues and number of drownings attributable to rip currents have reached varying conclusions. This study uses rescue data reported to the United States Lifesaving Association by surf beach rescuers to show that rip currents are the primary cause of an average of more than 80 % of surf rescues, and to estimate that, they are the primary contributor to over 100 drowning deaths annually in the US.
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NHESS | Articles | Volume 19, issue 2
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 389–397, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-19-389-2019
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 389–397, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-19-389-2019

Research article 22 Feb 2019

Research article | 22 Feb 2019

Estimations of rip current rescues and drowning in the United States

B. Chris Brewster et al.

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Cited articles

Arozarena, I., Houser, C., Echeverria, A. G., and Brannstrom, C.: The rip current hazard in Costa Rica, Nat. Hazards, 77, 753–768, 2015. 
Attard, A., Brander, R. W., and Shaw, W. S.: Rescues conducted by surfers on Australian beaches, Accident Anal. Prev., 82, 70–78, 2015. 
Branche, C. M. and Stewart, S. (Eds.): Lifeguard effectiveness: A report of the working group, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2001. 
Brander, R. W. and Scott, T.: Science of the rip current hazard, in: The Science of Beach Lifeguarding: Principles and Practice, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 67–85, 2016. 
Brannstrom, C., Trimble, S., Santos, A., Brown, H. L., and Houser, C.: Perception of the rip current hazard on Galveston Island and North Padre Island, Texas, USA, Nat. Hazards, 72, 1123–1138, 2014. 
Publications Copernicus
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Short summary
Rip currents are the greatest hazard to swimmers at surf beaches, but studies of the percentage of rescues and number of drownings attributable to rip currents have reached varying conclusions. This study uses rescue data reported to the United States Lifesaving Association by surf beach rescuers to show that rip currents are the primary cause of an average of more than 80 % of surf rescues, and to estimate that, they are the primary contributor to over 100 drowning deaths annually in the US.
Citation
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Final-revised paper
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