Rip Currents in South Florida: A Major Coastal Hazard and Management Challenge

Stephen B. Leatherman

The first field measurements of rip currents in South Florida showed that these offshore-flowing currents are fairly weak as generated by moderate-sized waves during fair-weather conditions, but are still a major water hazard. Miami Beach is world famous, but unfortunately this area has a large number of drownings, partly because the rips here at nearly invisible. These ongoing tragedies were recently highlighted by the loss of two prominent rabbis that point to the misconceptions and lack of understanding of nearshore currents even by highly-educated people.