LONG-SHORE CURRENTSLong-shore currents are common at any beach that is exposed to breaking surf. They are responsible for many rescues along the coast by sweeping swimmers and surfers down the beach into a variety of hazards.
WHAT IS A LONG-SHORE CURRENT?
A long-shore current is an ocean current that moves parallel to shore. It is caused by swells sweeping into the shoreline at an angle and pushing water down the length of the beach in one direction.
Longs-shore currents usually extend from the shallow waters inside the breaking waves to the outside breakers. They vary depending on the size, strength, and direction of the approaching swell, and the length of the beach. The more prominent the swell size and direction, and the longer and straighter the beach is, the more powerful and swift the long-shore current will be.
WHY ARE LONG-SHORE CURRENTS DANGEROUS?
Long-shore currents can sweep swimmers and surfers into rip currents, piers, jetties, and other hazardous areas. In many cases, the long-shore current is strong enough to prevent swimmers from being able to keep their feet on the bottom, making it difficult to return to shore.
Always check with the lifeguard on-duty before you enter the ocean to consider the direction and strength of the long-shore current and the possible hazards you may be swept into.