Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing away from the shore at a fast pace, …and they can occur at any beach with breaking waves.
Swimmers that are caught in rip currents can get pulled away from the shore at speeds of up to one.six meters per second, …which is faster than an Olympic swimmer …and far too fast for swimmers to make it back safely to the beach.
In the U.S., about one hundred people drown in rip currents every year.
Lifeguards rescue another 30-thousand swimmers a year from the deadly currents.
Rip currents pose a threat in Korea as well.
In 2010, three deaths at Daecheon Beach in Chungcheongnam-do province were attributed to rip currents.
At Haeundae Beach in Busan, hundreds of people have been rescued after being pulled away by the powerful currents.
Since 2011, the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency has been running real-time rip current detection systems at seven beaches across the country.
They first started with Haeundae Beach and are now running the system in Songjeong and Imnang beaches in Busan, Daecheon Beach in Chungcheongnam-do province, Jungmun Saekdal Beach on Jeju island …and Gyeongpo and Naksan beaches in Gangwon-do province.
Rip current forecasts are divided into four warning levels - notice, watch, warning and danger.
Warnings are posted on Korea's weather agency website so swimmers should check this information before heading to the beach.
If you do get caught in a rip, stay calm and yell for help.
Instead of exhausting yourself by trying to swim against the current, stay afloat while waiting for help.
Swimming parallel to the shore towards breaking waves can help swimmers escape from the rip current.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.