Rip hazards

Reading through, a rip current safety website maintained by Dr. Tim Scott and hosted by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), gives a good insight into rip currents, why rip currents are hazardous, and why the chance to survive a rip is small, even if you know the traditional recommendations, which are, as you can find on many website and in safety brochures:
  • not to panic,
  • not to swim against the current,
  • to float and wave an arm for help and
  • to swim parallel to the beach until outside of the current, then in diagonal direction to the beach.
The reason is that the human behavior of most swimmers in a rip current situation - no swimming ability in the context of surf experience - stands in the way to get out of a rip. Also because there exist many different types of rip currents which make the last strategy not always appropriate. More information about the different types of rip currents and a rip current survival guide can be read here.

As risk assessment is missing at most beaches around the world, which makes tourists extra vulnerable due to unawareness of the risks, let this reading about rip currents be a motivation to swim only at patrolled beaches and between the red and yellow flags where lifesavers can see you and help if you get into trouble.