Swimmers and surfers are being warned of dangerous rip currents and heavy seas as they head to the beach to cool off this summer. Rip currents are fast-flowing channels of water that pose a particular danger to swimmers. More than 80% of beach lifeguard rescues are down to rip currents, and more than 100 people die each year in the US alone. Heavy seas can also create unpredictable conditions, adding to the danger that swimmers face. The safest advice is to swim or surf near a lifeguard, check the surf report and tide charts, and wear the proper swim or surf attire.
Surfers and Swimmers Warned of Dangerous Rip Currents and Heavy Seas
Summer is the time for beach-goers to venture to the coast to take a dip in the refreshing ocean waters, but with the warm weather comes a warning to surfers and swimmers: beware of the dangerous rip currents and heavy seas.
Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water that flow away from the shore, often posing a danger to swimmers and surfers. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents account for over 80% of rescues by beach lifeguards and result in over 100 deaths each year in the United States alone.
In addition to rip currents, heavy seas can also pose a risk to surfers and swimmers. Large waves can create unpredictable conditions and strong surges that can be difficult to navigate.
To stay safe in the ocean this summer, follow these tips:
1. Always swim or surf near a lifeguard. Lifeguards are trained to identify rip currents and other dangerous conditions and can provide the safest place to swim or surf.
2. Check the surf report and tide charts before heading out. These resources will alert you to the best times to surf or swim and can help determine if hazardous conditions are present.
3. Learn how to spot rip currents. Rip currents are often recognized by a narrow, choppy channel flowing away from the shore. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current before swimming back to shore.
4. Avoid swimming alone. Having someone with you in the water can provide assistance in case of emergency.
5. Wear proper swim or surf attire. Appropriate gear can help you stay afloat, maintain warmth, and prevent injury. Wearing a wetsuit and surf leash, for example, can help prevent exhaustion and keep you safe in rough surf conditions.
What is a rip current?
A rip current is a channeled current of water that flows away from the shore. They can pose a danger to swimmers and surfers, and are responsible for the majority of rescues by beach lifeguards.
What should I do if I am caught in a rip current?
If caught in a rip current, stay calm and do not try to swim back to shore against the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current before swimming back to shore.
How can I avoid rip currents and other hazardous ocean conditions?
Always swim near a lifeguard, check the surf report and tide charts before heading out, and be aware of the signs of rip currents and other dangerous conditions. Swimming with a buddy can also provide added safety in case of emergency.
What should I wear when swimming or surfing?
Proper attire can help prevent injury, exhaustion, and maintain warmth. Wearing a wetsuit and surf leash, for example, can help prevent exhaustion and keep you safe in rough surf conditions.
Overall, being aware of the risks and properly preparing for a day at the beach can ensure a fun, safe experience for all. Remember to always put safety first and stay alert to potential hazards.