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An undertow can drown a person just feet from safety.
Riptides are found in channels, passes and cuts through which large volumes of water travel from the bay to the surf during the tidal exchange. Rip currents are commonly and mistakenly called riptides.
The tide plays an important factor in water depths in the surf.
The tide range, or difference between high and low tide varies between 1 to 3 feet.
An undertow occurs when a wave is about to break on a shallow sandbar where a swimmer might be standing.
The water will suck underneath the wave as it breaks.
You will notice the longshore current as you enter the water, causing you to drift along the beach. Not a hazard for swimmers, unless there is a north wind, the longshore current will sweep you towards the jetty where it will become a rip current sucking out to sea.
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