Avoiding Rip Currents at the Beach

Rip Currents pic
Rip Currents
Image: ripcurrents.noaa.gov

Allen Fitzsimmons has led Transitioning Forward in Belchertown, Massachusetts, as chief executive officer since 2013. Away from work, Allen Fitzsimmons enjoys traveling to warm beach destinations, such as the Cayman Islands.

Whether traveling to an exotic vacation destination or visiting the local beach on a summer day, individuals must take several precautions to stay safe and healthy in the water. A person must be especially wary of changing tides and rip currents, which account for deaths and most lifeguard rescues on US beaches each year.

In some cases, beaches designate safe swimming areas so that swimmers can avoid areas where the currents are strongest. Even if a beach features a safe swim zone, visitors should still speak with the on-duty lifeguard about the rip current. Swimmers should also be aware that rip currents can occur in any large, open body of water, including water surrounding jetties and piers.

If caught in a rip current, swimmers must stay calm and allow the current to carry them away, rather than fight against it. As the tide weakens, swimmers can swim parallel to the shore until they have escaped the current, at which point they can turn start swimming back to shore. If the tide is too strong, swimmers should simply float until the rip tide dissipates.

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