Dr. MacMahan, an oceanography professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., found that the conventional image of a rip current is inaccurate — that it’s actually not a long plume of fast-moving water running out to sea. Instead, rip currents more closely resemble whirlpools, with strong, persistent eddies that circulate throughout the surf zone, Dr. MacMahan reports in an article to be published in Marine Geology. If you swim parallel to the shore, he concludes, there’s a 50-percent chance you’ll end up be swimming into a stronger current. But if you just tread water, he says, there’s a 90 percent chance of being returned to shore within about three minutes...I rather doubt the "90%" number is based on hard data, but the advice may well be valid.
Via The New Shelton wet/dry.