Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Rips and risk: An investigation of the hazard signature

Currently Active: 

Rip currents are jet-like flows originating in the surfzone before broadening outside the breaking region.

Classic definition of a rip current schematic (based on Shepherd et al., 1941; and MacMahan et al., 2006
Figure 1

They are an integral part of nearshore circulation on wave-dominated beaches and cause up to 68% of surf-related incidents reported by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in the UK. Surfers and bathers can get transported offshore by these flows, which in extreme cases (megarips) can reach speeds of 2 m/s.




Figure 2
Figure 2


  • Images from beaches in the UK (Perranporth), New Zealand (Tairua) and Egmond aan Zee (Netherlands) will be validated against field data from drifter deployments
  • After validation, algorithm could be used to mine data from any beach with sufficient resolution images


Figure 3
Figure 3

Key Objectives

  • Develop an automated algorithm capable of delineating various rip channel morphologies in video images from multiple sites
  • Quantify the range of rip channel morphologies that occur at sites with different hydrodynamic and geological settings
  • Evaluate the role of hydrodynamic and meteorological forcing as a control on rip formation, morphology and persistence
  • Classify the hazard signature of differing rip channel morphologies
Figure 4
Figure 4

Key Contacts

Mr Seb Pitman

Dr Shari Gallop

Dr Ivan Haigh

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Share this research project Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings