The dangers of rip currents were reinforced on Friday with two men being pulled out of the ocean by Council Lifeguards after getting into difficulty on the state’s South Coast.
The pair aged 35 and 70 were swimming at Seven Mile Beach near Gerroa when they got caught in the powerful conditions at around 2:30pm.
A multi-agency operation was launched involving Police, Paramedics, Council Lifeguards, contract helicopters, and the Westpac Rescue Life Saving Helicopter with the State Operations Centre providing communication support.
It is believed the men were in the water for over 15 minutes before being rescued by Lifeguards and after being assessed by paramedics appear to have escaped from their ordeal relatively unscathed.
The incident is a timely reminder of the dangers of rip currents and comes on the back of Surf Life Saving Australia recently launching the second year of a national awareness campaign designed to dispel some of the myths surrounding this natural but potentially dangerous occurrence.
Ahead of summer all beach goers are encouraged to have a basic understanding of rips and the steps you should take if you happen to get caught in one.
How can I spot a Rip Current?
• Rip currents will occur in deeper water, so it’s usually a darker colour compared to the white breaking waves over a sandbank
• Because the water is deeper, there will be less breaking waves or maybe an area with no waves at all, which can give the appearance of a safer spot to swim
• Rip currents can move things like sand, seaweed, or debris back out through the waves
What do I do if I get caught in a Rip Current?
• Relax – stay calm and float to conserve your energy
• Raise – raise an arm and attract attention from the lifeguards or lifesavers
• Rescue – the lifeguards or lifesavers will be on their way to help you
• While floating, rip currents may flow in a circular pattern and return you to an adjacent sandbar
• You may escape the rip current by swimming parallel to the beach, towards the breaking waves
For further information or to access video resources visit www.beachsafe.org.au [external].
Friday 3 November 2017