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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Rip currents still cause for concern

By Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | August 31, 2012

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A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendictular to the beach. Rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars and near structures such as jetties and piers. If caught in a rip current, swim across the current in the direction of the shoreline.

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water running perpendictular to the beach. Rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars and near structures such as jetties and piers. If caught in a rip current, swim across the current in the direction of the shoreline. (Photo by courtesy photo)


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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --  With the arrival of the fall season quickly approaching, water safety is still a major issue concerning troop welfare aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Rip currents carry swimmers out to sea due to a build-up of water on shore caused by waves. This “seaward pressure” is typically released at breaks in sandbars and near structures such as jetties and piers.

Swimmers should stay at least 100 feet away from these areas of least resistance, because permanent rip currents often exist in these areas.

“The first thing to notice is the wave break,” said Tom Caughlan, the Marine Corps Installation-West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton director of safety. “The force of the water rushing back to sea knocks the surf flat.”

If caught in a rip current, try to remain calm to both conserve energy and maintain the ability to think clearly.

Fighting the current will only accomplish loss of energy. To escape, swim across the current parallel to the shoreline.

If at any time you feel you will not be able to reach shore, face the shore and draw attention to yourself.

Splashing, waving your arms and yelling are all examples of how to show that you are in distress and require help.

If you see someone showing signs of distress, immediately alert a lifeguard. Call 9-1-1 if no lifeguard is posted in the area.

Throwing the rip current victim a buoyant object (beach ball, cooler, boogie board, etc.,) is another way to help and yell directions on how to escape.

Be careful not to become a victim yourself while aiding the swimmer.

For more information, contact base safeyty at (760) 725-3475.



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