Ocean Hazards & Beach Safety: Sharks vs. Rip Currents

March 30th, 2020

Attention schools, libraries, and community groups in Monmouth and Ocean County: FREE Ocean Hazards & Beach Safety programming available!

Sharks are often seen as the most dangerous and life-threatening part of the ocean. Their razor-sharp teeth and aggressive nature make these apex predators efficient contributors to the marine ecosystem. Yet a more common and potential risk to bathers is the threat of hazardous RIP CURRENTS, powerful narrow channels of water that flow away from the beach carrying everything in their path out towards the ocean. Moving faster than an Olympic swimmer, rip currents can transport bathers away from the shore in a matter of seconds.  Panic and lack of safe swimming skills is what causes more than 100 people to perish from rip currents in the U.S. each year.

New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) would like to remind all beachgoers about the greater importance of ocean safety and rip current awareness. Our Ocean Hazards and Beach Safety: Sharks vs. Rip Currents program is a great way to engage your community in the importance of swimming safely at the beach.  This lively presentation combines ocean science, animal ecology and fun in an interactive program that compares shark facts with rip current mechanics, ending with ocean swimming safety tips. Teams of participants play a Jeopardy-style game to test their knowledge and determine which is more dangerous… sharks or rip currents?

Help keep your community safe by reserving an Ocean Hazards and Beach Safety: Sharks vs. Rip Currents program today. This hour-long program can take place at your school/center or virtually anywhere via Zoom or Google Meets. For more information contact Mindy Voss, Education Specialist at mvoss@njseagrant.org or 732-872-1300, extension 30 or use this convenient online reservation request form

And be sure to always remember, “When in doubt, don’t go out!”

Interested in more information about sharks or rip currents? Check out these great resources: 

NJSGC manages a comprehensive Rip Current Awareness campaign for New Jersey which includes distributing thousands of metal signs, alerting swimmers to the dangers of rip currents and illustrating what to do if caught in one.  The signs are posted at high traffic beach access and bathing points in essentially every shore community along the New Jersey coast. Municipal officials interested in obtaining additional signs in English and Spanish or copies of NJSGC’s rip current safety trifold brochure, please contact NJSGC Samantha Kreisler, Communications Specialist at skreisler@njseagrant.org or 732-872-1300, ext 18. Rip Current Awareness brochures are distributed at municipal buildings, beach badge check-points, and other locations from Sandy Hook to Cape May.

Thousands of bookmarks inspired by this campaign have been distributed to young beachgoers throughout the Jersey Shore area with fun and easy-to-remember facts about safe and smart ocean swimming. Download our free Rip Current Kids: Break the Grip of a Rip workbook to engage children.

The development of the initial Rip Current Awareness project was a partnership effort between New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Travel and Tourism, NOAA National Weather Service, and New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management.

Learn more about rip currents with Dr. Beach and USLA/NOAA (via YouTube).

More curious about SHARKS? Check out these informational videos:

Sharks 101 (National Geographic)
How Do Shark Senses Work? (BrainStuff)
What If There Were No Sharks? (It’s Okay to be Smart)