Nor West News : November 17th 2011
As summer approaches, Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving Patrol president Dave Comp suggests how we can all stay safer at the beach. Wear fins, left: Boogie boarders can get out of a rip easier and catch better rides. ' The safest place to swim or enter the water is where the surf lifeguard patrol has set the flagged area...it continues to amaze the lifeguards when people attempt to swim in other parts of the beach RIPS How to identify a rip: Calm patches in surf with waves breaking each side Rippled or criss-crossed water Discoloured water Foamy water Adjacent sand bars If caught in a rip: Try not to panic. This can be easier said than done however you will not make your way to Australia. If you panic your energy levels will be quickly burnt up. Raise your hand Float on your back Wait until the rip stops moving before swimming If you are a strong swimmer then you could ride the current out from the beach until the current weakens, then swim parallel to the shore for 30-40 metres before returning to shore, swimming slowly. Calm spot: Beware of the rip current which is generally the calm patches in surf with waves breaking each side. Surf safety Surf safety As summer approaches and with the tragedies in the Waikato, it becomes more important to know what to do when going to the beach. If the one you are going to has a surf life- guard patrol, then the safest place to swim or enter the water is where they have set the flagged area. This might seem to be stating the obvious but it continues to amaze the lifeguards when people attempt to swim in other parts of the beach, some- times only a couple of 100 metres away or even worse in the perceived calm spot. The red and yellow flags are set up and the nominated area has in most cases been tested'' for risk. That is a lifeguard may have gone out for a swim to see how the rip currents are travelling as these can change, depending on the beach, throughout the day, week, month. The flagged area is also the primary focus for the lifeguards so if there are issues some- where else on the beach it can take more time getting the assistance required if an event takes place. A rip current is a nar- row body of water mov- ing out to sea. In other words, as the surf comes into the beach, that water has to go some- where so feeder channels develop as it looks for an area to make its way back out to sea to dis- perse behind the break- zone. They can often occur where there is a barrier to water movement along the beach, such as head- lands and rocks, or man- made barriers such as wharves and drainage pipes. For boogie boarders we strongly recommend fins are included as an important/vital part of your kit. Not only will they help you catch more waves, there is a better chance of getting back to the shoreline or out of a rip if you stray that way. Watch the conditions -- things can change throughout the day, the most important one is the tide. The risk that something could happen increases with an outgo- ing tide, especially on the West Coast, even more so at a non-patrolled beach or if you are visiting the beach before or after the lifeguard patrol. Fishermen, please also be mindful of the con- ditions -- you are not bullet-proof and a lifejacket is a must at all times. On Auckland's West Coast we have Angel Rings fitted in key spots in case a fisherman is swept off the rocks. This does not mean that lifejackets are no longer required -- in fact it is the opposite, and both could keep you alive. In short, if the surf is up, please don't go out. We have had instances where people have gone rock fishing in surf of two to three-metres or more and have either not gone home or had a very rough time. Remember, the beach is a fantastic place but please respect it. Lifeguards are there to help so if in doubt come and have a chat with us.
November 10th 2011
November 24th 2011