Can there be rip currents in a lake?

In cases where the Coriolis force is a significant factor, the current of a lake tends to move to the right (in the Northern Hemisphere). Scientists say it is much more complicated than that. Decreased swimming ability is the leading cause of drowning, especially in lakes where swimmers may try to reach the other shore and the weakest in the group may be swept away and drown at the end of the lake, far from shore and out of sight of help. In the Great Lakes there are constant currents and changing currents.

Currents are created in lakes by winds at the surface, by temperature patterns and bathymetry, and by the Coriolis force."

Are there strong currents in lakes?

According to researchers, strong currents on the Great Lakes have caused more than 150 drownings since 2002. This situation is common in rivers and there are relationships between the mean current velocity, the gradient and the mean depth of the river or narrow lake. A deeper counter-current is created on the left side to compensate for the water logging on the right side. These currents occur because many structures in the Great Lakes are solid to the bottom of the lake.

In cases where the Coriolis force is a significant factor, the current in a lake tends to flow to the right (in the northern hemisphere).

Are there dangerous currents in lakes?

Underwater currents can not only be dangerous on their own, but they can also work together to create even more dangerous conditions for swimmers, especially in high winds and swells. Michigan Sea Grant helps promote economic growth and protect Michigan's and the Great Lakes' coastal resources through education, research and outreach. Most people know that ocean currents can be dangerous, but they don't suspect that there are such strong currents in the Great Lakes. The combination of a short wave period and strong currents can quickly become dangerous even for strong swimmers.

Michigan Sea Grant is a proud member of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, a group that works to promote water safety and fight drowning in the region.


Amie Pross

Evil music junkie. Lifelong bacon geek. Subtly charming music expert. Hipster-friendly social media junkie. Hipster-friendly tea buff. Social media evangelist.

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