What Is a Rip Current?
Understanding rip currents is essential for beachgoers to stay safe in the water. A rip current is a strong, narrow current that flows outward from the shore, perpendicular to the beach. It can pull swimmers away from the shore and into deeper waters.
Look out for the following signs of a rip current: noticeable differences in water color or clarity, areas of choppier or foam-filled water compared to the surrounding water, and a channel of water moving seaward, often cutting through breaking waves.
If you find yourself caught in a rip current, remember to stay calm and avoid fighting the current. Swim parallel to the shore to escape the current's pull, and once out of the current, swim at an angle towards the shore.
How to Keep Kids Safe at the Beach
Keeping children safe at the beach requires extra attention and precaution. Here are some tips to ensure their safety:
- Never leave children unattended near the water, even if lifeguards are present. Assign a responsible adult to watch over them at all times.
- Educate children about water safety rules, including staying within designated swimming areas, avoiding rough waves, and the importance of listening to lifeguards and adult supervisors.
- For young or inexperienced swimmers, provide them with U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices. However, keep in mind that floaties and inflatables should not substitute for active adult supervision.
- Teach children about rip currents and what to do if caught in one. Encourage them to swim parallel to the shore and raise their hand for help.
If your time at the beach doesn't go as planned and you need to seek medical attention, consider visiting your local CareNow® for quality care.
How to Be Safe at the Lake
Safety precautions at the lake are similar to those at the beach but may have specific considerations. First and foremost, it's important to use appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets.
Before swimming, you should always familiarize yourself with the lake's depth and underwater hazards. Rocks, submerged objects, or sudden changes in depth can pose risks.
If swimming in areas where boating is allowed, stay within designated swim zones and be aware of boat traffic. Make yourself visible by using bright swim caps or flotation devices.
Avoid contact with unfamiliar aquatic plants or algae, as they may cause skin irritation or other health issues. If you notice any unusual discoloration or odor in the water, avoid swimming in that area.
By adhering to beach safety tips, understanding rip currents, keeping kids protected, and practicing lake safety precautions, you can mitigate potential risks and enjoy a fun-filled time for yourself and your loved ones.
How to Help Someone In Distress
When faced with a water emergency, it's crucial to act quickly and effectively. Educating yourself on the necessary steps to take when assisting someone in distress can be a life or death difference. Remember, your safety should always come first, so only proceed if it's safe to do so.
If you encounter someone struggling in the water, prioritize their rescue by bringing them to dry land. If possible, call for help from someone trained or try to pull the person toward safety from where you're standing. However, never put your own life at risk if the situation is too dangerous.
Once the person is on dry land, assess their breathing. Determine if they are responsive or unresponsive. If the person is unresponsive but breathing, monitor their breathing and be prepared to perform CPR if their condition worsens.
If you experience an injury while at the lake or beach, visit the closest CareNow® for quick and convenient care. Each of our more than 175 locations is open after hours and on the weekend.
We’re fully staffed with qualified medical providers who are ready to serve you. Don’t forget to use our Web Check-In® feature before your visit so you can wait from anywhere.