Ocean Swimming? Know this about Rip Currents

June 28, 2013

Going on vacation is always exciting and brings many opportunities for water-related activities. Enjoying oceans or large lakes is a go-to activity during summer, but there are risks involved while enjoying these natural bodies of water. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the fifth leading cause of death for people of all ages.
Rip currents are narrow, powerful channels of water that move in the offshore direction. A rip current pulls a swimmer away from the shore into deeper water at quick speeds. They can sweep even the strongest Olympic swimmer out to sea before they know it. Before enjoying the ocean, beware:

  • Talk to the lifeguard on duty about where to swim.
  • Keep updated on the local weather forecast.
  • Watch for signs of rip currents including discolored, choppy, or foamy water or debris in water
  • Look for colored flags at beaches that indicate beach conditions.
  • If you get caught in a rip current, relax and stay calm. Swim parallel to shore until you have passed through it, and then swim diagonally to shore. Do not swim against the current.

*If you witness someone in distress, alert the nearest lifeguard. If there is no lifeguard on duty, call 911. DO NOT try to help the victim out, as you may become a victim yourself.
Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities for all ages, but could also be very dangerous. To enjoy a safe and fun swimming experience, make sure you are aware of the risks and take the necessary safety precautions.

  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich maneuver so you could properly know when and how to perform them.
  • Learn how to swim.
  • Always swim with a friend. Never swim alone.
  • Swim only when lifeguards are on duty.
  • Always supervise young children around water. Drownings happen quickly and often silently.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while doing water-related activities or supervising children.

Safe swimming and enjoy the summer!

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