We interrupt normal programming for this public service announcement. It takes less than a minute to drown – how to read the surf
In the last week three children, the eldest with severe autism, were orphaned after their mum went into the surf to help two of them in trouble. She got the kids out but then got into trouble herself. So the dad went in to help his wife and the mother of his three children. The two of them drowned in a rip on one of the many stunning but unpatrolled beaches of Australia.
Yesterday another dad drowned in a rip after going in to help his two sons and their friend who had got in trouble.
People, the beach in all its stunning beauty is a mighty dangerous place to be if you do not understand what it is capable of. Even I was stunned to read this morning that our beach is rated a 7 out of 10 in terms of hazard. Dudes, the beach in which we frolic is regarded as highly hazardous.
Basically every beach has a rip. It’s not a tide, it won’t pull you under, it’s a current that pulls all the water that’s come into the beach back out again. Some beaches have several permanent rips, where the beach is between two headlands there will pretty much always be a rip at one or other or both of the headlands.
They’re sneaky buggers because a rip looks like the safest place to swim as there are less breaking waves.
If you are holidaying somewhere on the coast where the beaches are not patrolled the advice is not to go in. Easier said than done when you’re away and holidaying during the height of the Australian summer. That’s some sort of Coleridgian water water everywhere but not a drop to swim in kinda sentiment that is just not going to wash with many. SO, get yourself to a high point, survey the beach and work out where the rips are and avoid them.
The Rip Currents website has everything you need to know including a five point survival plan for when you get stuck in a rip here. The key is to not panic and to swim parallel to the beach. Do NOT try to swim against the current. You’ll get tired and start to freak out.
Also, just take a few minutes to watch this:
Enough kids have been orphaned by natural disasters in the last few weeks. We’ve made the boys watch this video a few times now and the bigger boys school had the guy in the video come and talk to the kids about the science of the surf.