Can you spot a ‘RIP’ at the beach ? Some guidelines for the Great Ocean Road.
When making a trip to the beach, we always remember the common items to include : hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, towel, water etc. All required for sun safety, but it’s critical to know where to swim safely at the beach. Can you spot a RIP at the beach ?
This information on rips will assist you and your family to identify and avoid them, prior to going swimming.
- Taking a few precautions will help . Don’t rush into the waves, but rather take a few minutes to assess the conditions in the sea and discuss these with your family first, especially if there are no flagged area or life savers around. Rips are the number one cause of beach hazard for swimmers.
- To avoid rips, swim between the red and yellow flags on a patrolled beach. This is always the safest option.
- Often the calmest area along the beach, is a rip. This is deceptive and often the place many people think is the best to enter the sea. There will be no wave activity – the waves are often on either side of the rip. The water comes in on the waves and returns via a darker channel or rip back out into different directions.
- If you do get caught in a rip, don’t panic. Float on your back and raise one arm as a distress signal and yell for help. Don’t panic, don’t fight the rip, allow it to take you to the sandbank (where the waves are breaking), and from there you can get to safety. Follow the rip to where the waves are breaking, and then allow the waves to push you back to the beach.
A few minutes of observation are always well worth it, when coming down to swim at the beach.
Resources at your fingertips – Apps, videos ……
There is an excellent resource available at the following link https://beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/ripcurrents– they also have the Beachsafe App available. Videos are available on their website to help you understand the conditions at the beach and where it is safest to swim.
Surf Life Saving and those Red and Yellow Flags
Surf Life Saving (SLS) provides an integrated national lifesaving service including volunteer lifesavers and paid lifeguards as well as the Surf Life Saving Emergency Response system. Lifesavers and lifeguards are trained to nationally recognised standards under the Australian Qualifications Framework. Always look for the red and yellow flags on the beach. Don’t drink alcohol or partake in drugs prior to entering the water – this can lead to high risk taking and poor judgement in the surf.
If you are new to the area, talk to the lifeguards who are always willing to discuss current conditions with you – don’t risk it.
Another very good resource is to look at the Surfcoast Shire Council Website – it is full of information with details about the area.