Friday, June 25, 2010

Break the Grip of the Rip

In Wake of Beach Drowning, Town Lifeguards Demonstrate How to Survive Rip Current
June 24, 2010

Tuesday, the latest youngster died in Long Beach after being caught in a riptide while swimming without the supervision of a lifeguard. In the wake of this most recent tragedy, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and town ocean lifeguards will offer beach safety tips and demonstrate how to avoid being caught in a deadly rip current.

"One drowning death is one too many," said Supervisor Murray. "As the weather heats up and more people head to our local beaches, we want to ensure that they are armed with the information they need to swim safely."

Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from the shore. Typically, rip currents extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

Some tips the supervisor offered to swimmers who are caught in a rip current include remaining calm and conserving energy; not fighting against the current; thinking of the current like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of; swimming out of the current in the direction following the shoreline; if unable to swim out of current, float or calmly tread water, swimming toward the shore when out of the current; or, if unable to reach the shore, waving arms and yelling for help. Tips were also issued for those on the shoreline who see a person in trouble to prevent them from becoming a victim of the rip current as well.

Other simple safety tips that beachgoers can follow are never swimming alone and never swimming outside designated swimming areas.

"One of the most important safety tips that we can offer is to always swim near a lifeguard," concluded Murray. "Our lifeguards are trained to deal with the rip currents. If there is no lifeguard, DO NOT go in the water."

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