Are rip currents dangerous?

Extremely, rip currents can kill. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that the annual number of deaths related to rip currents on our nation's beaches exceeds 100 people. Rip currents account for more than 80 percent of the rescues performed by lifeguards stationed on the beach.

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1. What is a rip current?
2. Are rip currents dangerous?
3. What can I do?
4. Can I check on rip current conditions beforehand?