The more you know about rip currents, the better prepared you can be for the hidden summer danger.
For instance, some rip currents, known as "flash rips," happen quickly and without warning. These can happen even if the weather is nice, explained Mark Jamieson, the patrol captain of the beach at Ocean City, New Jersey.
"Rip currents especially can arrive at a moment's notice," he told AccuWeather. "They might come and go. They have things called flash rips. Just a quick wind switch or maybe a tidal change can make a rip current that wasn't present all of the sudden pop up."
The speed of the phenomenon is part of what makes rip currents so dangerous, Jamieson explained, because the water suddenly pushing them away from shore causes some swimmers to panic.
"If they're not knowledgable and try to fight the current, it's just exhausting very fast," he said. "And that can become a very dangerous situation for anyone."
The most important thing to know about getting caught in any type of rip current is that you should swim parallel to the shore and get out of the current before you attempt to swim back in.