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The rise and fall of tides can cause water levels to fluctuate by several feet and also can generate strong currents.

  • When you paddle against the current, paddling is much more strenuous. However, paddling is much easier when you move with the current.
  • Submerged objects that did not present a problem at high tide may become obstructions at low tide.
  • If you leave your boat or board beached at low tide, you may find it has drifted away at high tide.

Rip Currents

A rip current heads straight out to sea from the beach and can easily carry your boat or paddleboard with it. You often can identify a rip current because the texture of the water is different from that of the surrounding water. To escape a rip current:

  • Paddle in the direction of the current but at a steep angle toward one side. When you escape the current, paddle back toward shore, staying well clear of the rip current.
  • If you cannot escape the rip current by paddling, float along with it until it subsides. Then paddle to one side of the current and return to shore.


  • For small to medium waves, use a bracing stroke.
  • For larger waves, head to shore and wait for the waves to subside.