There are many myths about the ocean. Many people think it’s just tourists and poor swimmers who get caught in rips currents. In fact, it’s young men aged 15-39 years who are most likely to die in rips. Rips are the number one hazard on Australian beaches. The best way to avoid a rip is to swim at a patrolled beach between the red and yellow flags.
Rips are complex, can quickly change shape and location, and at times, are difficult to see. The things to look for are deeper, dark-coloured water; fewer breaking waves; a rippled surface surrounded by smooth waters; and anything floating out to sea or foamy, discoloured, sandy, water flowing out beyond the waves. Rips don’t always show all of these signs at once. Can you spot a rip?
Stay calm and consider your options. Raise an arm to seek help. Try floating with the current, it may bring you back to shore. Swim parallel to the shore or towards breaking waves and use them to help you in. Reassess your situation. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try one of the other options until you’re rescued or return to shore.