Statistics indicate that each year across the U.S., lifeguards are rescuing about 50,000 swimmers from rip currents and more than 100 of those victims do not make it. What can you do to help avoid a rip current or at least not fall victim to one?
BE AWARE: Before you enter the water make yourself aware if a rip current exists. Ask a nearby lifeguard what the surf is like. If there is a rip tide he/she can advise you of the where you can swim safely.
LOOK AROUND: If there isn’t a lifeguard present close by to ask, look around for telltale signs. When there is a rip current, it pulls the sand out to sea and the water will appear murkier. If there are sandbars in the area, look at the waves that are in front of a sandbar, they will be large and choppy in a rip current. These currents are usually strong when the surf is rough.
If you are caught in a rip current, what you can do is…
DON’T PANIC: In any distressful situation this is always the number one rule, especially here. Being fearful will make you lose the strength you need to swim. So, don’t panic for there is no immediate danger.
SWIM PARALLEL TO THE SHORE: You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but this is the way to swim yourself out of it. Your instinct will be to want to swim back to shore for you will be moving further away from the beach in this current. You cannot fight the current for you will get exhausted quickly. So relax and let the current carry you and swim in the same direction of the shore. You may still be pulled out to sea a bit more, but if you keep your cool (Rule #1) and continue swimming parallel until you no longer feel the pull, then you can swim back towards shore. Most rip currents are only 30 feet wide and even then you probably wouldn’t have to swim that far.
TAKE A BREATHER: Don’t go back into the water right away if you have just swum out of a rip current. Take time to regain your strength again especially if the surf is exceptionally rough.
Here is a YouTube video to help educate young family members about the dangers of rip currents and how to swim out of them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hCZuYzNujI
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for all insurance & personal needs. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. So, we strongly advise to check with an expert representative to address your specific needs. However, you can also contact us for any questions or concerns about insurance and we will be happy to help you. We are able to offer a complete line of personal & commercial insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
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