If you live anywhere near the California coastline, odds are that you’re planning on heading down to the beach at some point this summer. If you plan on going for a swim in the Pacific, then it’s crucial that you keep certain safety tips in mind. For example, you need to understand what rip currents are and what to do if you’re caught in one.
What Is A Rip Current?
A rip current is a type of current that tends to form near beaches with breaking waves. They tend to be very strong currents that move away from shore, cutting directly through the breaking waves. Think of it as a sort of river that runs underneath the ocean in the opposite direction of the waves.
They move at an average speed of around one to two feet a second, but they’ve been known to travel as fast as eight feet a second. If you get caught in such a current while swimming, it could pull you far away from shore. It’s estimated that around 100 people die in the U.S. every year as a result of being caught in a rip current.
What To Do If You’re Caught In A Rip Current
The following are a few safety tips to keep in mind if you’re caught in one of these currents:
- Don’t struggle: They won’t pull you underneath the water, so don’t struggle if you feel the force of one starting to pull you away. Struggling will only tire you out, increasing the risk of drowning.
- Don’t swim against it: Swimming against such a current is like running on a treadmill. You won’t get any closer to shore and you’ll only get more tired.
- Swim to the side: Instead of swimming against the current, swim alongside it, parallel to the shore. You’re more likely to escape the current this way. It will be easier to swim alongside, which means you won’t waste energy, and once the pressure lets up, you can swim back to shore with greater ease.