Rip Current Awareness Week: June 1 – 7, 2014
What is a rip current?
A rip is a strong current running out to sea or parallel to the beach. Rip currents are the cause of most rescues performed at beaches. A rip current usually occurs when a channel forms between the shore and sandbar, and waves have built up water which then returns to sea, causing a drag effect. The larger the surf, the stronger the rip. Rip currents are dangerous, as they can carry a weak or tired swimmer into deep water.
How can I recognize some rip currents?
Rip currents cannot always be differentiated nor distinguished from the surrounding water. Often a rip current gives no visible warning of its existence, however, certain indications may indicate rip current conditions. The conditions which may indicate a rip current are:
- A channel of fast moving, churning, choppy water.
- A difference in water color.
- Any objects in water moving out to sea.
- A break in the incoming wave pattern.
- These conditions are not always present.
How can I escape a rip current?
- Stay calm.
- Stay calm. It is that important.
- Float to regain energy, do not fight the current.
- Escape the current by swimming across the direction of water flow (usually parallel to the beach). Once free from the rip, adjust your direction and swim back to shore.
- If you are unable to escape by swimming, float or tread water.
- When you regain energy or the current weakens, swim across the direction of water flow. Once free from the rip adjust your direction and swim towards shore.
- If reaching the shore is not possible, face the shore and waive your arm above your head, yell for “HELP” to draw attention to yourself.
- Do not panic, the rip current will dissipate in deeper water.
Understanding the ocean is very important— the more you know about how waves, wind and tides affect conditions in the water, the better able you are to keep yourself safe, or even warn others away from danger. Recognizing danger signs and awareness of surf conditions is an essential way to keep everyone safe.
Surf Safety Tips
- Always: swim at beaches patrolled by lifeguards; obey lifeguards; swim under supervision or with an experienced swimmer; and report dangerous situations to the lifeguard.
- Swim between orange flags located on either side of lifeguard stand; they mark the safest area to swim.
- Do not, EVER: swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol; swim if you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifeguard first; run/or dive headfirst into unknown waters, conditions change quickly, even if you checked before, they may not be the same now; or go on the beach or into the water if you hear thunder or see lightning.
- If you get into trouble while swimming, don’t panic. Float with the current. You should call for help and wave one hand back and forth over your head. Float and wait for assistance.
Sun Safety Tips
The sun provides light, warmth, and essential building blocks for life. However, when enjoying the outdoors, it is very important to take certain precautions concerning sustained exposure to the sun’s radiating rays. Skin cancer has become more and more prevalent, especially in teens, 20somethings, and the chronologically advanced of us. The following are a few pointers to keep in mind if you like to play outside.
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. More than one million people are diagnosed annually1.
- Try to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Cover up. Wear a hat, long sleeve shirt, and long pants when out in the sun.
- Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it at least 15 – 30 minutes before going in the sun. Put on more after swimming or sweating.
- The suns rays can reach through three feet of water, so even though you may feel cool in the water, the sun can still burn you.