I was reading local news last night and in the LA Times, they were talking about how big waves and high tides are bringing hazardous conditions to Southern California beaches.
It’s not just SoCal where swimmers have to worry about hazardous conditions like rip currents. It’s all over the world, and according to Weather.gov, “Typically, they form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures, such as jetties and piers, as well as cliffs that jut into the water. Rip currents are common and can be found on most surf beaches, including the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico.”
RELATED: Don’t Do This When You’re Swimming
FYI: “Rip currents are channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches.” What caught my attention was an ABC News 7 piece in which a lifeguard was interviewed and he said he’s rescued all kinds of people, including an Olympic water polo player. He said it doesn’t matter if you’re are phenomenal swimmer or how fast you are. Getting caught in a current is like swimming up a river.
Here’s How to Survive a Rip Current
Weather.gov offers helpful information to help swimmers survive a rip current. If you ever find yourself in this scary and dangerous situation, here’s what they say to do:
-Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
-A rip current is 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. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
-Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along 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: If in doubt, don’t go out!
-If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
-If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so that person can call 911 for help.
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