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Beware of strong currents when swimming in the sea

With more people on the beaches over the festive season, NSRI are urging the public to be extra cautious between now and the New Year as there is a Spring Tide that will cause stronger than normal rip currents around the coast.

rip graphic magriet

Bathers and shoreline anglers are most at risk and extreme caution is advised.

Spring Tide happens twice every month, at full moon and at new moon.

Spring Tides bring a higher than normal high tide and a lower than normal low tide, causing stronger rip currents.

There are two high tides and two low tides every day and the Spring Tide creates stronger than normal rip currents and hence the danger is increased.

Rip Currents are caused when the water reaching the shoreline in waves, swells and sea currents needs to find a way to retreat back into the sea and this is achieved in rip currents (a river of water retreating through the incoming swells back out into the sea).

There are two types of rip currents, permanent rip currents, found alongside islands, rocky outcrops jutting into the sea, at river mouths, in between reefs and alongside harbour walls and piers, are found constantly occurring in the same place allowing the water reaching the shoreline to retreat back into the sea in the permanent rip current.

Temporary rip currents, found along beach fronts (along the shoreline), are forever changing their position and are unpredictable and can form suddenly along a beach front without warning at different places along the shore front throughout the day.

During Spring Tide these permanent rip currents and temporary rip currents are stronger than normal and although rip currents at all times pose a danger to bathers they pose the greatest danger during the Spring Tide.

Bathers are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming or wading in water along the beach front.

truewan oct

Even bathers wading in shallow water who find themselves trapped in a rip current that forms suddenly are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents.

Bathers caught in a rip current should not panic. Simply stay afloat by treading water (moving your arms and legs in circular movements), don’t try to swim against the current as it will only cause you exhaustion and let the current sweep you out to sea but at your first opportunity swim parallel to the beach front until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore.

While this is happening scream for help and wave your arm to alert people on the beach to raise the alarm.

Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and obey the instructions of the lifeguards and only swim within the safe swimming zones lifeguards mark (using their red and yellow flags).

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