The waves aren’t that big. The water looks calm.
It must be safe.
Visitors to the Outer Banks might make that assumption as they cross over the dunes and look at the water. Most are unaware that rip currents can happen in seemingly calm conditions with 2- to 3-foot waves.
These powerful seaward channels accounted for at least seven deaths in North Carolina last year and on average, 100 fatal drownings annually nationwide.
Rip currents are the number-one public safety risk on beaches in the United States, according to the National Weather Service.