Know the Ocean and Its Hazards

By / Editorials / Friday, 30 July 2021 18:53

Before visiting any of or beautiful area beaches please know the power of the ocean. Do not take it for granted. Pay attention to the flags and signals form lifeguards. They are trained to alert you if there are dangerous rip currents or other hazards present in the water. There are several ways to check ocean conditions before even leaving your home. Know your swimming ability and understand a rip current can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.
Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers. Rip current speeds are typically 1-2 feet per second. However, speeds as high as 8 feet per second have been measured-this is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint!

Over 100 drownings due to rip currents occur every year in the United States. More than 80% of water rescues on surf beaches are due to rip currents. When Rip Currents Form Under certain wave, tide, and beach profile conditions the speeds can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the surf. The strength and speed of a rip current will likely increase as wave height and wave period increase. They are most likely to be dangerous during high surf conditions as the wave height and wave period increase. Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as groins, jetties and piers. Rip currents can be very narrow or extend in widths to hundreds of yards.
Always let a lifeguard make a rip current rescue, because often, the people that try to make rescues themselves end up being the ones who drown. Instead, the best way to help is to throw them something that floats and immediately get a lifeguard for help.
How to Survive a Rip Current:
- Don't fight the current. It's a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second, but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second—faster than an Olympic swimmer.
- Relax and float to conserve energy. Staying calm may save your life.
- Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current's pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
- If you feel you can't reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: Wave and yell...swim parallel.









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