Almost all people in the world love to swim in the sea and most of them believe it to be safe. However, many of them do not know how easily they can get drown while having pleasurable time in the beach. When untoward incidents occur, many people blame the victims to have swam under the influence of alcohol. Besides this reason, there are many other reasons causing such tragedies, i.e ‘rip current’. Rip Current ─ also referred to rip or ‘rip tide’ ─ is a type of water current (a narrow current of water) that develops near beaches.
The following article describes why ‘rip current’ is dangerous and explains possible measures to avoid this.
One of the most hazardous phenomena in the sea, rip currents has the power of killing not only regular or learning swimmers but also professional swimmers have lost their lives. Lack of knowledge and skills are all to be blamed for these kinds of untoward incidents.
While swimming, they might have tried to resist the current but to no avail. Most of the time, it does not work because the moment that you realize that it is the rip current then it would have been already late and while you are struck by panic, you will be unable to help yourself.
Rip currently are dangerous, especially if the phenomena occurs in shallow water having gentle slope and low-lying coastline that will be bordered by tongues of sand, islets or shoals. For example, coastline of Sea of Azov and Gulf of Mexico.
Usually, mass of water cannot revert its direction to the open sea at low tide due to the presence of natural barriers. The pressure significantly grows when the flow of water intersect with sea. While water rush back to the sea, powerful rapid gets formed at around 2.5 to 3 meters/ second that subsequently forms a kind of river in its middle point.
The illustration bellows shows the flow of water flowing in the reverse direction moving with the right angle to the shore i.e. in the direction where sea flows.
It has higher probability of these water corridors to appear at any time along with beach. Waves roll against each other, bringing more water in and within fractions, returning to the sea at different speed. This phenomena forms reverse flow, i.e. a phenomena similar to river as described above.
The picture shows the reverse flow of water. People playing with the sea have been caught up with the rip current.
Normally, rip current are very narrow. It measures only from 2 to 3 meters, flowing at a speed of around 4 to 5 kilometers per hour. These current are not predominantly dangerous. Nevertheless, they can be 50 meters or more in width and 200 to 400 meters in length, thus, become able to flow at a speed of 15 km/hour.
There are possible ways of detecting rip current, enabling you to avoid getting trapped in it. Following are the indications
- A channel of speedily flowing water at a right angle to the coast.
- Water surrounding the coastline or beach turns into a different color i.e. white are being surrounded by green and light blue.
- In the direction of the sea, a portion consisting of foam, bubbles and marine vegetation slow steadily
- Formation of 5 to 10 meter gap in compact area of inward-flowing waves.
If you identify the above mentioned situations then you are lucky enough to have an opportunity to save yourself from rip current. Don’t’ just simply get inside the water but looking for such situations is a virtue. However, there can be circumstances when identifying rip current will be almost impossible because it cannot be seen by sight most of the times.
Please do remember that rip current can occur anywhere along the coast. If you stand in the water which is just your waist-deep or in the chest-deep, a rip current can clutch you and make you flow in the sea.
People who are just learning how to swim in the sea enjoy just by standing on one place. So, not going into the sea without any companionship is of good value. Remember, always pay attention to red flags haul in various sections on the beach.
Swimming parallel to it is a technique to avoid difficulties. You can escape for rip current if it is narrow, i.e. up to 5 meters. However, escaping from the current in this case isn’t easy, despite following the techniques.
But if you lose your hope, it will not be helpful. Just chillax, the flow of water flowing in the reverse direction will not last long but instead; come to standstill after 5 minutes. As soon as it stops, swim parallel to the cost for about 50 to 100 meters, then towards it. There will be a higher probability of the flow getting started again if you try to go straight towards it and rip current will again grab you.