1. SWIM NEAR A
Find out where the
lifeguard stands are located and always swim where there is a lifeguard. Statistics show
that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost 5 times greater
than drowning at a beach with lifeguards (United States Lifesaving Association).
2. NEVER SWIM
It is best to always enter the water with a swim buddy. If one of you has a
problem, the other can help or yell for assistance.
At the least, have someone on shore watching you.
FIGHT THE RIP CURRENT
The majority of water
rescues performed by Kitty Hawk Ocean Rescue lifeguards involve rip currents. To be safe
at the ocean you must understand what a rip current is and how to take care of yourself if
caught in one.
is a Rip Current? Often mistakenly called undertows, these powerful
currents pull even experienced swimmers away from shore. Panic and drowning often
result. The currents are formed when water rushes out to sea in a narrow path.
This happens when there is a break in a nearshore sandbar or the current is
diverted by a groin, jetty, or other barrier. Rip currents can exten 1,000 feet
offshore, reach 100 feet in width and travel up to 3 mph. Some are present a few
hours; others are permanent. Rip currents are more prevalent after storms.
Signs of Rip Currents
A difference in water color - either murkier from sediments or darker from greater depth
A difference in the waves - larger choppier waves in the rip current: smaller, calmer
waves in front of the bar
Foam or objects moving steadily seaward
An offshore plume of turbid water past the sandbars. Polarized sunglasses cut glare
and help spot rip currents.
If you're caught in a rip current, don't panic or swim against the current. Swim
parellel to shore until you are out of the current. Rip currents are rarely more
than 30 feet wide. If you can't break out of the current, float calmly unitl it
dissipates, usually just beyond the breakers. Then swim diagonally to shore.
If you don't swim well, stay in wading depths and watch for sudden drop-offs.
Rip Current Graphics and info provided by Sea Grant.
4. SWIM SOBER
Drugs, including alcohol, impair judgement and cause people to take risks they would not
otherwise take. In addition, drugs contribute to drowning by decreasing muscle
coordination resulting in decreased swimming ability.
5. USE A LEASH ON YOUR BOARD
Leashes are attached to a surfboard or boogie board and then to the users ankle or
wrist. Use of a leash is important for two reasons -
user will not become separated from his floatation device, and
leash reduces the chances of the board hitting and injuring bystanders.
6. DONT FLOAT WHERE YOU CANNOT SWIM
go into deep water dependent on a floatation device. This is extremely dangerous. If they
fall off, or the raft deflates, they can quickly drown. Kitty Hawk Ocean Rescue ask you to know
your limitations, recognize your swimmin ability, and respect the Atlantic Ocean.
7. PROTECT YOUR NECK - FEET
FIRST, EVERY TIME
Serious head and neck
injuries occur every year due to diving head first into unfamiliar water and impacting
with the bottom. Always enter the water feet first, first time, and always check for the water depth and for
obstructions before diving.
8. WATCH YOUR
CHILDREN IN THE WATER
It only takes 20 60
seconds for an actively drowning person
to become unconscious. This is an extremely short period of time. The lifeguard is
responsible for watching you, your children, and every other person in his zone. Even the
best lifeguard can not see everything at once. Help the lifeguard watch your children by
being an extra set of eyes.
9. IF THERE IS THUNDER AND/OR LIGHTNING LEAVE THE BEACH
Lightning causes thunder,
so anytime thunder can be heard, the danger of lightning is real, whether you can see it
or not. If at the beach, get out of the water and take shelter. Do not take shelter under
a tree or in an open structure. Go to a building or a fully enclosed metal vehicle, such
as a car, with the windows shut (Lifesaving Resources Inc.)
10. KNOW YOUR LOCATION ON THE BEACH BY STREET NUMBER OR CROSS STREET,
CARRY A CELULAR PHONE WITH YOU, AND IF YOU SEE SOMEONE IN NEED OF HELP DIAL 911.