Currents and rip currents

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014

Rip currents on the Great Lakes kill more people than sharks in all the oceans. The State of Michigan named the first week of June Rip Current Awareness month. I am not aware of the same recognition by the state of Wisconsin or other Great Lakes states, but I can attest that it has taken lives very near to us here in southeastern Wisconsin including a strong young high school student just this past year.

Again the term “lake” does not represent the forces of nature represented in our fresh water seas. These, along with other strong currents can be present in apparently calm water. While rip currents are generally created by wave action, dangerous currents can be present even on glass calm days. Instrumentation on my boat has shown current speeds close to 2 mph which exceeds the speed most are able to swim. Check out this NOAA article on rip currents and what to do if you are overcome and keep in mind, this issue is has a lot more awareness in Michigan because the water temps are generally warmer on the west side of the lake. Swimmers, kayakers and other boaters in Wisconsin have been lost. Children are obviously most susceptible.

 

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=whatconditionscauseripcurrentstodevelop?