Tide Charts & Currents

Rip Currents

Rip currents are formed when water rushes out in a narrow path, like rivers through the surf. Often mistakenly called undertows, these powerful currents pull even experienced swimmers away from shore, but not under the water. Rip currents may form in breaks in near shore sandbars. They are rarely more than 30 feet wide, but they can extend 1,000 feet offshore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph. Some are present a few hours; others are permanent. Rip currents are more prevalent after storms. 

Telltale Signs of Rip Currents 

  • A Difference in Water Color - either murkier from sediments or darker from greater depth.
  • Polarized sunglasses cut glare and help to spot rip currents. 
  • A Difference in The Wave - foamy, choppier waves in the rip current and smaller, calmer waves in front of the sand bar. 
  • Foam or objects moving steadily seaward. 
  • An offshore plume of turbid water past the sandbars. 

What Should You Do In Case of a Rip Tide 

  • If you are caught in a rip current, don't panic or swim against the current. 
  • Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more than 30 feet wide. 
  • If you can't break out of the current, float calmly until it dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers. 
  • Then swim diagonally to shore. If you don't swim well, stay in wading depths and watch for sudden drop-offs. 

Tide & Weather Information

Before you head to the beach, check the tide tables and solunar tables for the Emerald Coast. You can get the forecast for high tides, low tides, hours of maximum fish activity, weather conditions and other useful information at tides4fishing.com.

Please use good judgement and obey the lifeguards and the flag warning system.