WITH thousands of people expected to flock to the beach to escape the extreme heat this weekend, Surf Life Savers are urging beachgoers to be mindful of dangerous rips.
The Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club said many people did not know how to read the surf properly, so they’ve released a list of tips and images illustrating how to identify potentially deadly rip currents. See pics below.
“One person will drown every two to three days this summer, 90 percent of those fatalities will be rip-related,” the club said in a post on Facebook.
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“Obviously the safest place to swim is always between the flags on a patrolled beach, however, having understanding of the beach will help you stay out of trouble.
“The easiest thing to remember is that often the safest/calmest most enticing looking area along a beach is usually a rip.
“A rip is usually the area void of wave activity and appears darker and deceptively calmer. It can sometimes appear milky or turbulent, but it is always pretty much void of wave activity.
“All that water coming in via waves has to go back out somehow, this is what a rip is.”
The club has urged beachgoers to take a few minutes to observe surf conditions and identify where these dangerous areas are before stepping into the water.
What to do if you’re caught in a rip:
- If you are caught in a rip, DO NOT PANIC.
- Go into floating mode and raise one arm as a distress signal when possible.
- See which direction the rip is taking you, is it straight out or at an angle?
- Once you have determined the rip’s direction, and if you have the energy, swim to the right or left of the direction of flow, never against.
- Some rips can move at three times the speed of an olympic swimmer, you won’t win! If you cannot swim out to either side of the rip, just go with it.
- Most rips won’t take you out very far, and will usually spit you out not long after they take you, so keep calm and save your energy for the swim back to shore.
The below pictures, provided by the Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club, illustrate how to identify a rip (the darker/calmer areas). The image with purple dye shows rip movement.
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