What is a Rip Current?
A rip current is a torrent of water that moves perpendicular to the coastline from shore. It’s like a river within the ocean. This “river’s” corridor (width) is roughly 2-3 meters wide, with a pace of 4-5 km/h. However, in extremely rare circumstances, the width of a current can reach 50, 200, 300, and even 400 meters at speeds of 15 km/h, although this is more of an exception than the norm. Regardless of these numbers, a flow of any width at any speed can kill even a professional surfer or swimmer.
It is critical to understand that it takes you not under the water, but further into the ocean, where a person can drown from weariness. It also does not depend on tides, but rather on the size of the waves. Each wave that comes ashore returns to the ocean, therefore the larger the wave that came ashore, the more water that returns to the ocean, and the stronger the current.
Surfers use rip currents as a lift to a line up, which is a great thing because it saves you energy and time by not having to paddle all the way. We do not advocate using this lift if you are a novice or have not gotten acclimated to being in the ocean.
How to Identify Rip Currents?
It should be noted that these currents do not always show any apparent signals, making identification difficult even for experienced rescuers. However, in most circumstances, the indicators are rather obvious:
– The visually quiet zone between waves is possibly the most dangerous rip current trap, as it appears to be the best spot to swim. It is exactly what attracts individuals who are unaware of rip currents and are looking for a safe swimming area. This disguised current is responsible for the majority of tourist deaths in the water.
– The inverse circumstance, in which the current appears to be a stream of water going toward the ocean – an obvious indication of danger.
– A zone of water with bubbles, froth, or seaweed that moves away from the beach is also a warning sign.
– A patch of the ocean near the beach that is a different color than the surrounding water. So, if you see gorgeous azure water with some blue, white, or green bits, just pass by.
– On popular tourist beaches, rescuers are forced to post rip current warning signs. It’s usually red flags, and swimming in the space between them is prohibited.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS ARE SIMPLE:
– Do not swim alone or in abandoned areas
– Keep your focus on the water and its color
– Try to swim near rescuers
– If you cannot swim well, do not go into the water.
What should you do if you're caught up in a RIP CURRENT?
– The most crucial rule
– DO NOT FREAK OUT – Remember that it is not harmful in and of itself; the greatest danger is your own panic and lack of knowledge of safety standards!
– Don’t try to battle the situation, and don’t paddle back to the beach – you won’t move a meter in the proper direction, and you’ll always be pushed back by the tide. At the end of the day, you simply move out of the way and the choppy current will take over.
– Swim to the side of the stream, parallel to the coast. If the current isn’t too strong, you’ll be able to get out of it soon. After then, paddle to the shore while staying as far away from the current as possible.
– But what if you can’t swim aside? As previously said, it does not drag beneath water, only further into the ocean, however the further it foes, the weaker it becomes. So attempt to relax and wait for the current to slow. As soon as it slows, begin paddling to the side to get out of the stream.
– If the situation does not enable you to perform any of the above, simply remain silent, without panic, and conserve energy.
IF YOU SEE SOMEONE IN A RIP CURRENT
First and foremost, ensure that you are knowledgeable about rip currents; otherwise, you may become a victim. If the distance allows, attempt to explain how to get out of a rip current to the person. If you see a person, attempt to pass a life ring or any other object that can help you stay afloat.
Some people who live far from the water feel that sharks are the most dangerous threat to surfers. In reality, evidence suggests that approximately 100 shark attacks occur each year, with approximately 20% of them being fatal. Simultaneously, a phenomenon known as a rip current kills hundreds of people! Despite this unpleasant fact, rip currents are not necessarily dangerous; all you need to know is what to do if you become entangled in one.
Read out other article: What is a Wipeout? How to Survive a Wipeout? And How to Overcome a Wipeout?