In the middle of summer you just have to go to the beach and smell that salt water and maybe even get into the surf. These days getting into the water requires great courage. There have been multiple times when someone is in knee deep water and suddenly a shark decides to make them an instant tasty treat. In the blink of an eye they have lost an arm or leg or both. This is quite unusual for sharks to go practically out of the water but this year it seems to be a trend. If you even get over the fear of that happening, you then have to worry about the strong tides that can whisk you into deep water in an instant. Having fun yet? My neighbor is converting their built in pool to salt water sigh.
There have been many rip current rescues. What does that mean? It is all about powerful currents in the water. Part of the appeal of the ocean and the beach is all that sand and the powerful waves and currents but we don’t need to be overpowered by them. The force can drag you under the water and take you away from the shore. Rip currents are one of the most deadly things in the ocean. It counts for over 80% of ocean rescues every year. Nearly 100 people drown in the United States every year as a result of rip currents. They can form when water piles up close to shore held back by escaping from an underwater sand bar. Then when a break in the sand bar occurs a fast moving river of water rushes back out to sea carrying along anyone caught in the currents.
The strongest swimmer does not ever match up to the power of the ocean. In seconds you can be sucked out to sea. You can be pulled hundreds of yards in minutes out to sea. Now what to do? People look at where they started and that is where they want to swim. The waves deter their progress in getting back to shore. You are tired of swimming by now. Sgt. Bill Bender from the San Diego Fire and Rescue Lifeguard Services reminds us not to panic and not to try to swim straight in to your original location. Put one arm up and hopefully the life guards see you and rescue you. If you are not that lucky, swim parallel to the shore trying to get closer and closer to shore until you can get out of the water even if you are miles from your original destination. At least you are not forced to swim anymore and someone will help you or wait for the strength to walk back.
Rip currents can pop up anywhere along the beach. Usually they are by piers or docks or jetties so swim near open water. Respect the power of the ocean. An experience will make you appreciate life. Hopefully your beach experience will only be in calm waters safe from predators and rip currents but be careful and alert. Happy summer sigh.