Articles | Volume 21, issue 1
Research article
14 Jan 2021
Research article |  | 14 Jan 2021

Beachgoers' ability to identify rip currents at a beach in situ

Sebastian J. Pitman, Katie Thompson, Deirdre E. Hart, Kevin Moran, Shari L. Gallop, Robert W. Brander, and Adam Wooler

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Cited articles

Attard, A., Brander, R. W., and Shaw, W. S.: Rescues conducted by surfers on Australian beaches, Accident Anal. Prev., 82, 70–78,, 2015. a
Brander, R. and MacMahan, J.: Future challenges for rip current research and outreach, in: Rip Currents: Beach safety, physical oceanography, and wave modelling, edited by: Leatherman, S. and Fletemeyer, J., CRC Press, Florida, USA, 1–26, 2011. a
Brander, R. and Short, A.: Morphodynamics of a large-scale rip current system at Muriwai Beach, New Zealand, Mar. Geol., 165, 27–39, 2000. a
Brander, R. and Scott, T.: Science of the rip current hazard, in: The Science of Beach Lifeguarding, edited by: Tipton, M. J. and Wooler, A., CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 67–84, 2016. a
Brander, R. W., Drozdzewski, D., and Dominey-Howes, D.: “Dye in the Water”: A Visual Approach to Communicating the Rip Current Hazard, Sci. Commun., 36, 802–810,, 2014. a
Short summary
This study aimed to identify how well beach users could spot rip currents in real time at the beach. It was performed in response to the fact that rip currents are the leading cause of drownings on recreational beaches worldwide. We found that only one in five people were able to spot the rip current, meaning the vast majority would be unable to make good decisions about where it is safe to swim at the beach.
Final-revised paper