Break the Grip of the Rip
Did you know that in Florida rip currents are responsible for more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning combined in an average year? Rip currents resulted in the drowning deaths of 25 people in the State of Florida last year. Teach children how to break the grip of the rip.
Rip currents are caused when ocean waves approach the coast moving from deep to shallow water and the wave heights increase due to friction along the oceans floor. The breaking waves form small currents near the coastline which can develop into rip currents. A rip current is a powerful channel of water which flows quickly away from the shore usually along low areas such as breaks in sandbars (which we have plenty) or piers and jetties. Extended periods of windy days can also lead to strong currents on shore and form rip currents as well.
How can you avoid being caught in a rip current?
- Keep an eye on the weather before heading to the
- Only swim at a beach with a lifeguard on duty
- Even if the day is calm and sunny, it doesn’t
mean that it is safe to swim in the water as rip currents are present on these
- Learn how to spot a rip current
- Know how to swim before heading into Gulf waters
- Know what the warning flags at beaches mean
If you are caught in a rip current:
- NEVER fight the current
- Remain calm and conserve your energy
- To swim out of the current, swim parallel to the shoreline
- Once out of the current, swim back towards shore
- If you’re unable to swim out of the current, allow yourself to float, or tread water until you’re out of it then swim towards shore
- If you’re still having trouble, try to attract attention to yourself by waving your arms and yelling for help
It’s import that children know how to swim and are always accompanied by an adult while in or near water. Do not let them use a floating raft or donut type floating toy which can be swept out in a rip current. Most of all, teach them about rip currents and what to do should they encounter one so they don’t panic.