A rip current is a horizontal current that can pull you away from the shore. Drownings occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat and swim to shore. Rip currents can be narrow or wide extending to hundreds of yards and typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and near structures such as jetties and piers.
None, one or more of the following clues may indicate the presence of rip currents: a channel of churning, choppy water; an area having a notable difference in water colour; a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward; and a break in the incoming wave pattern.
If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 999 or 112. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape.
See Water Safety Ireland for more information on rip currents.