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Lenny The Lifeguard – Spotting A Rip

By Dan Hutton on January 21, 2011 in

Hello again everyone. Last month I reiterated the ‘Swim Between The Red And Yellow Flags’ message. These are always the safest places to swim. This month I’m going to go a little bit further and tell you all how to spot a rip and what to do if you are ever unfortunate enough to get caught in one.

At patrolled beaches, most rips will be marked by ‘Dangerous Current’ and ‘No Swimming’ signs, which takes a lot of the effort out of finding them. However, if you find yourself at an unpatrolled beach one or more of following natural features may alert you to the presence of a rip current:

•    Darker water, indicating deeper water
•    Murky brown water caused by sand stirred up by faster moving water
•    A choppy or rippled look, when the water around is generally calm
•    In large surf, a smoother surface with much smaller waves
•    An area with few breaking waves on a beach with surf at that time
•    Foam or debris floating out to sea

If you do find yourself caught in a rip, the first thing to do is remain calm and no circumstances should you try to swim against the rip current.If you are unfortunate enough to get caught in a rip the first thing you should do is remain calm and under no circumstances should you try to swim against it. Lifeguards recommend floating to conserve energy and trying to attract attention, which can be done by raising or waving your arm. However, if you remain between the red and yellow flags you should not have this problem.