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Break the grip of the rip

Sea Rescue and Lifesaving SA are working with all rescue services in an effort to reduce the number of drownings in South Africa this summer season.

The 7 top safety tips for the Summer holidays that should always be top of mind are:

1. Only swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.

2. Swim only between the lifeguards red and yellow flags.

3. Don’t drink alcohol and swim.

4. Don’t swim alone.

5. Competent adults supervision for children and barriers which prevent access to water are vital.

6. Know what rip currents are and how to survive them.

7. Don’t attempt a rescue, call a lifeguard or dial 112 from any cell phone.

Have a plan in place to prevent panic:

• Make sure you have emergency numbers saved in your cell phone. Dial 112 from any cell phone in any emergency.

• Put the local Sea Rescue number in your phone. The local numbers can be found HERE

• Check the wind, weather and tides before you go to the beach.

• Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, make sure they know your route.

• When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks - never ever turn your back on the sea.

When boating or paddling:

• If you are paddling or if you are on a boat download NSRI’s free SafeTrx app. You can download the app HERE

• Check that your craft and equipment are in good working order and carry the correct safety approvals and certifications and safety gear.

• Wear a Life-Jacket at all times.

• Store your communication devices, cell-phone and VHF radio, with fully charged batteries in watertight plastic sleeves.

• Carry red distress flares, a signaling mirror or CD disc, a referee’s whistle, a waterproof torch and wear the correct brightly coloured gear, a hat and sunscreen and keep well hydrated.

Teach your children about rip currents:

• Rip currents are the greatest cause of drowning accidents along our coast.

• A rip current looks like a calm patch of water but is actually a river of water flowing fast out to sea against the incoming waves.

• If you are caught in a rip-current you’ll be swept out to sea faster than you’re able to swim towards the shore.

• Don’t panic or try to swim against the current.

• As tough as this sounds, let the current take you out to sea.

• Raise one arm in the air and wave and scream to alert people on the shore that you’re in trouble.

• At the first chance you get ... swim parallel to the beach until you’re free of the rip, then use the incoming waves to aid your progress to get back to shore.

The biggest danger that people face on the beaches this summer are Rip currents.

Click HERE for more on Rip currents.

Related articles:

Teach your guests about ocean safety

Spring tide rip current warning

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