Rips are complex, can quickly change shape and location, and at times, are difficult to see. Rips don’t always show all of these signs at once. Can you spot a rip? (Surf Life Saving Australia)
A video form Surf Life Saving Australia
The majority of RNLI Lifeguard incidents involve rip currents which are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches.
Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people into deep water at up to 5mph. They can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by deeper darker patches of water, fewer breaking waves on the sea’s surface, rippled surface surrounded by smooth waters, anything floating out to sea or foamy discoloured sandy water flowing out beyond the waves. Even the most experienced beachgoers can be caught out by rips, so don’t be afraid to ask lifeguards for advice.
The best way to avoid rips is to choose a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags so you can be spotted more easily if you get into trouble.
The RNLI advises if you are caught in a rip:
Stay calm, don’t panic
Don’t try to swim against it you will get exhausted
Keep hold of your board or inflatable to help you float
If you can stand, wade don’t swim
If you can swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore
If you can't beat the Rip - FLOAT
Always raise your arm in the air and shout for help
If you see anyone in trouble alert the lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
Fight your instincts, not the water. Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct: to swim hard and to fight the cold water. But when people fight it, chances are that they lose.
If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, do as little as possible by floating. Float To Live.