Tags: rip currents | sneaker waves | drowning | navigate

What You Should Know About Deadly Rip Currents

yellow warning sign at beach says 'strong currents'
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 29 June 2023 03:31 PM EDT

If you are heading to a beach retreat for the July 4th weekend, be aware that deadly rip currents may threaten your holiday. Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett, 35, apparently drowned off a Florida panhandle beach on Tuesday, one of many who have lost their lives to the sea’s seductive waves.  A county sheriff’s office said rip currents have claimed at least 11 lives in two weeks along the Gulf Coast.

Mallett went under water and was not breathing when lifeguard pulled him out, says CNN. He died at a local hospital. A number of casualties from rip currents this month have been recorded between Fort Morgan, Alabama, and Panama City Beach in Florida. While rip currents have not been officially cited as the cause of Mallett’s death, authorities have been warning beachgoers of their danger.

The National Weather Service defines a rip current as a “relatively small-scale, surf-zone current moving away from the beach. Rip currents form as waves disperse along the beach, causing water to become trapped between the beach and a sandbar or other underwater feature. The water converges into a narrow, river-like channel moving away from the shore at high speed.”

Matt Friedlein, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Chicago says beachgoers should follow this rule:

“On days with high surf and potential for dangerous currents, a simple rule the National Weather Service stresses is to ‘stay dry when waves are high’.”

Rip currents deaths, which include fatalities from high surf and so-called sneaker waves, have trended up nationwide in recent years, hitting a high of 113 in 2021, according to the weather service, says USA Today. Sneaker waves are just as their name reveals — potentially deadly waves that surge further up the beach than expected, overtaking the unaware and sweeping them into the ocean.

According to Long Island News12, anyone who visits a surf beach, whether at the ocean or any large body of water like the Great Lakes, is exposed to the danger of rip currents.  Here are some tips to protect yourself and your loved ones:

• Only swim in areas supervised by lifeguards. The chances of drowning at a beach with lifeguards are one in 18 million, says the U.S. Lifesaving Association.

• Make sure you and your children know how to swim in the surf and never swim alone.

• Check water conditions before going into the water by looking at the local beach forecast and talking to the lifeguard at the beach. Watch for any warning signs posted on the beach, alerting you to the potential danger of rip currents. Great beach weather doesn’t exclude the chance of rip currents.

• If you get caught in a rip current, relax, and don’t swim against the current but follow the direction of the shoreline, or toward breaking waves to escape the grasp of the current. You may also be able to escape by floating or treading water.

• Yell and wave for assistance if you need help.

• Don’t become a victim while trying to help someone else. Get help from a lifeguard or call 911 and try to direct the victim to swim following the shoreline. If possible, throw the victim a flotation device.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
If you are heading to a beach retreat for the July 4th weekend, be aware that deadly rip currents may threaten your holiday. Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett, 35, apparently drowned off a Florida panhandle beach on Tuesday, one of many who have lost their lives to the...
rip currents, sneaker waves, drowning, navigate
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2023-31-29
Thursday, 29 June 2023 03:31 PM
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