Riptides thrive near man-made structures

Jul 18, 2006

Drownings along shorelines often are the result of rip tides and now a U.S. scientist says manmade structures are at least partly responsible.

Rip tides, or rip currents as they are also called, are channels of surface water -- often very strong -- that flow away from the shore, The Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times reported Tuesday. The National Weather Service said rip currents extend from the shoreline and past the line of breaking waves and can occur at any beach, even without breaking waves.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Assistant Professor Philippe Tissot studied rip currents along the South Texas coast, focusing on the effects of manmade structures such as piers and jetties.

"(Manmade structures) create a break in the symmetry of the shoreline," Tissot said. "The breaking of symmetry makes it easier for rip currents to form around manmade structures."

Tissot's study was published in the spring issue of Texas Shores, a Texas Sea Grant College Program quarterly publication.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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