Getting Nauti Serves Up Another PSA to Help Keep You Safe on the Water
It is now full on summer, which means time to get out on the water for some summertime nautical fun. And as much as we’d like to continue this vein here by delving into Getting Nauti’s repertoire of nautical information so as to entertain you with fascinating facts, amusing trivia and related nautically related information, instead it’s time for another public service announcement (PSA).
As fun-filled as nautically minded pursuits can be, there be danger lurking on and below those waters we adore so much. Case in point being those mindless gelatinous blobs known as box jellyfish that we warned you about in our last such PSA—June 3rd’s “A Public Service Announcement From Getting Nauti.”
Well, now we’re going to warn you about the water itself, because the usual fun-filled beaches of North Carolina’s “Crystal Coast” region turned tragic with the drowning deaths of four swimmers who were each caught up in rip currents during a 10 day period last month. Several other swimmers have been hospitalized after being pulled away from the shore, and lifeguards, local police and fire/rescue crews reportedly had to rescue more than 80 swimmers along the 25-mile stretch of beach from Atlantic Beach to Emerald Isle during this time frame.
North Carolina's Crystal Coast
Friends of Getting Nauti were visiting the area during the incidents and reported that they’d never seen the surf so agitated. “Big waves don’t usually scare me,” James, a long-time Atlantic Beach visitor told us. “And these waves weren’t all that big—I’ve certainly seen bigger—but all of them were angry. They seemed to come in all sizes from every which direction and with no rhythm as usually seen in breaking wave flows. Even in the shallows the pull of rip currents was noticeable, and even the smallest waves hit with a force that could knock you down.”
James noted that the surf only seemed “normal” during one of the nine days he was there, and that with each day fewer and fewer people seemed to be going into the water.
The drowning victim fatalities included two teens, a 21-year-old, and a 56-year-old. Two of the victims are credited with drowning while attempting to save others who had been caught up in rip currents. While admirable, the Emerald Isle Police chief noted that anyone attempting to rescue someone caught up in a rip current should make sure they do so with a floatation device.
Other advice for those who may be caught up in a rip current is to try to stay calm and to either swim parallel to the shore or float/tread water with the current, rather than attempt to swim out of its pull. At some point the rip current’s energy will ebb and allow the swimmer to make it back to shore.
How to Escape a Rip Current
Many people mistakenly believe that rip currents are the same as riptides and undertows. Some people also mistakenly believe that an undertow is a type of rip current that can actually pull swimmers under the water. For the record, an undertow is the average constant current which is moving water offshore when waves are approaching the shore, a compensatory transference of energy and water volume positioning. The United States Lifesaving Association, among other groups, notes that undertows cannot pull and hold people under water. A riptide is caused by the moon’s gravitational pull, and is a predictable rise and fall of water levels.
Not to be Confused With 'Riptide' the TV Show
Rip currents form as a means of channeling water from breaking waves back to the sea, with their intensity, size and speed dependent upon the sea state. They usually extend from near the shoreline out past the line of breaking waves and move perpendicular to the beach. Rip currents are generally always present but usually too slow and weak to be of danger to swimmers. However certain sea states create dangerous rip currents that can be fast, powerful and extend for hundreds of feet past the surf zone.
We trust that this, the second PSA of the season, will help keep you safe while you’re out having fun or otherwise getting nauti on the water. Along with being mindful of riptides, make sure that you protect your skin from too much sun. Getting Nauti’s line of shirts might provide the perfect complement to the sun screen you plan to slather over your exposed skin.
A Public Service Announcement From Getting Nauti: https://www.gettingnauti.com/blogs/news/a-public-service-announcement-from-getting-nauti