Summer Is Coming
It’s the turning of the seasons to summer again, and many more people will be on the beach over the festive season. Remember that the beach means Cape St Francis and not St Francis Bay, as there is no beach there; things get a bit congested and can get a bit dangerous. Seal Point has a powerful rip that runs alongside the rocks at the beach break and several other rips that run further down the beach.
On Sunday, going for a quick surf in the onshore conditions, a friend and I noticed a girl on a board, clearly a novice, stuck in the rip and struggling. Her dad, also a rookie, was having his own difficulties. He was dealing with the powerful onshore waves that were smashing on his head and could provide no support to his daughter. They were both out of their depth and had no place there.
After a while, she started getting tired of battling the rip, and we paddled out to help her. She grabbed onto my leash, and Tony, my friend, went behind and gently pushed her board from behind while I towed her in.
It wasn’t easy. An exhausted girl on a heavy board and a whole bunch of currents, waves, and wind does not make for an easy access route to the shoreline.
Still, we got her to the beach, and she and her dad were extremely grateful.
As rescues go, it was an absolute minor, but if we hadn’t been around and if she couldn’t break the grip of the rip, there could have been a not-so-good outcome.
Please be aware of the rips, and please leave out pink
buoys there and do not steal them – they have saved so many lives over the years and will be needed this summer.
How to break the grip of the rip
This excerpt from Ocean Today
We all love the beach in the summer. The sun, the sand, and the surf. But just because we’re having fun, doesn’t mean we can forget about safety.
Rip currents account for 80% of beach rescues, and can be dangerous or deadly if you don’t know what to do.
Know before you go. Check local beach forecasts before you head to the beach, and always swim near lifeguards. Look for any warning signs or flags. If you’re unsure about conditions, ask a lifeguard. And know how to swim before you venture in.
If you do happen to be caught in a rip current, stay calm. It won’t pull you under – it’ll just pull you away from shore. If you try to fight the rip current and swim against it, you’ll just get worn out. Instead – float!
If you’re a good swimmer, swim parallel to shore until you’ve cleared the pull of the rip current. Swim with the waves, allowing them to push you to shore.
If you can, wave and yell to get the attention of lifeguards and people on shore to let them know you need help.
If you’re on shore and see someone in trouble in a rip current call for help! If a lifeguard is not available, throw in something that floats or extend a reaching object, but don’t try to be a hero and make the rescue yourself. Even trained lifeguards only attempt a rescue using a flotation device.
Rip currents can be dangerous, but if you know your options, survey your situation, and stay calm, you can stay safe and continue to have fun in the surf, sand, and sun.