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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

RIP Currents, be careful out there

Each year people drown on Koh Samui beaches because of rip currents. Yesterday it happened again and as with most victims, it was an elderly Swiss couple, a 70 year old male who tried to rescue his 69 year old wife. very sad.
Since there's not much warning about these rip currents, I can only keep repeating my posts each year and try to warn this way!


Your biggest protection is knowledge – knowing what to do, either to avoid the danger of a rip current, or to save yourself if you are caught in one. There are two things that everyone should learn about rip currents that could save their lives;

-First, when you are on a beach you must be able to recognize the signs of a rip current, and then NOT go into the water anywhere near that area. (The easiest way to save the lives of your family is to stay out of dangerous waters that could kill them.) A rip current carries sand and sediment straight out to sea as a visible plume that cuts through the incoming waves. Typically when you see a break/gap in the incoming waves and the water in that gap has a different color or murkiness than the water on both sides of the gap, then there is probably a rip current moving out to sea through that gap. It is easier to see this pattern when you are higher up on the beach, or better yet, higher up on sand dunes or buildings next to the beach. The attached photo shows two areas with rip currents, one viewed from above and one viewed from beach level.

-Second, if you are caught by a rip current and are being pulled away from shore, the most important thing to remember is not to swim against the current, but to SWIM PARALLEL TO THE SHORE. The rip current will not pull you under the water, so you must not panic. It may be scary that you are being pulled out to sea, but again do not panic, because the rip current is usually very narrow. So if you swim sideways in a direction that is parallel to the shoreline, you will eventually be out of the current, and then you can slowly swim back to shore.
. These seem like two very simple rules. But in a rip-current gap the water may not look rough, and the smooth surface can fool people into thinking it is safe to swim there. And because there is always some type of long shore current moving you down the coast while you’re swimming, it is easy to be unknowingly moved down to a rip-current area. And once you are caught in a rip current it is so easy to panic that people forget to swim parallel to the shore. All one can do is just keep reminding your family of these two rules, so they will remember them even at moments of panic.

Hope somebody reads this and ill remember it when needed. Go out and have fun but be vary careful on Chaweng and Lamai beaches during January and February!


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Camille

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