Travel Tip of the Day: Rip Current Safety

RiptideRip Current Safety
It’s summertime, and for many of us that means swimming. But I was recently reminded by my local news station to be wary of powerful rip currents in the water—and just how dangerous they can be. The National Weather Service has a whole page dedicated to rip currents, including a free course and video. See the image above for instructions on how to survive a rip current, as well as this wikiHow tutorial for more.

 

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Comments

  1. thepixinator says:

    This is a very valuable tip. At a time of year when people go to the beach for relaxation, they may not be thinking Safety. I’ve been caught in strong currents and they are not fun, but the advice is correct. Stay calm, swim to the side instead of trying to head straight to shore, and you’ll be alright. Don’t be embarrassed to call out for help. Lifeguards may not be aware of all of that day’s currents, and your request for help might prompt them to raise a black flag that saves someone else that day.

    I would also add to be careful of hydraulics and eddies when swimming in “blue holes,” those deep pools that form in rivers, especially in the mountains, that can suck you under and never spit you back out. If you don’t know how to swim well, don’t assume that just because it looks like a lazy river that there’s not swirling water below the surface, and also lots of rocks.

    And lastly I would add that you should ALWAYS determine the depth of any water you jump or dive into by swimming under and looking for yourself, especially dark water in rivers and ocean pools. Don’t just grab last year’s swing rope and launch yourself in the water without testing it to see if it’s at least 12 feet deep, to keep from breaking your spine. I went to college with someone who will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life because he dove into shallow water. He was an experienced cliff diver, and knew better, which just goes to show complacency can happen to anyone around water. Think!

  2. Rip currents are the most important surf danger for all beach goers. Rip current speeds are usually 1-2 feet per second. Though, speeds as high as 8 feet per second have been measured. Rip currents can occur at any surf beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes.

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