NSRI warning about dangerous rip currents this week
NSRI Head office has issued a warning to people visiting or living on South African coastlines this weeks to be extra cautious as the full moon Spring Tide this week makes rip currents even more dangerous.
The full moon Spring Tide peaks on Tuesday, 9 September and as this is the 3rd super moon in a row extremely strong rip currents are predicted to be present around the coast over the next seven days.
Bathers and shoreline anglers are most at risk. It is feared that good weather being experienced during this Spring Tide around Tuesday plus rough sea conditions will put more people at risk and extreme caution is advised.
Spring Tide happens twice every month at full moon and at new moon. Spring Tides bring a higher than normal high tide and a lower than normal low tide causing stronger than normal rip currents for a few days. These tides are prevalent up the to the Full moon and a few days thereafter.
Rip Currents are caused when the water reaching the shoreline in waves, swells and sea currents need to find a way to retreat back into the sea/ This is achieved by rip currents (a river of water retreating through the incoming swells back out into the sea).
There are two types of rip currents: permanent rip currents found alongside islands, rocky outcrops jutting into the sea, at river mouths, in between reefs and alongside harbour walls and piers, They constantly occur in the same place allowing the water reaching the shoreline to retreat back into the sea in the permanent rip current. Temporary rip currents, found along beach fronts (along the shoreline), are forever changing their position and are unpredictable and can form suddenly along a beach front without warning at different places along the shore front throughout the day.
During Spring Tide these permanent rip currents are also stronger than normal and although rip currents at all times pose a danger to bathers they pose the greatest danger during the Spring Tide.
Bathers are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming or wading in water along the beach front. Even bathers wading in shallow water who find themselves trapped in a rip current that forms suddenly are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents.
What to do when swimming in the sea and if caught in a rip current:
* Bathers caught in a rip current should not panic.
* Simply stay afloat by treading water (moving your arms and legs in circular movements),
* Don’t try to swim against the current as it will only cause you exhaustion and let the current sweep you out to sea
* At your first opportunity swim parallel to the beach front until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore.
* While this is happening scream for help and wave your arm to alert people on the beach to raise the alarm.
* Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and obey the instructions of the lifeguards and only swim within the safe swimming zones lifeguards mark (using their red and yellow flags).
* Children should have responsible adult supervision around coastal and inland waters.
* Anglers fishing along the shoreline, particularly along rocks on the shoreline are at greatest risk during the Spring Tide where incoming waves during the high tides engulf higher than normal over rocks.
* Anglers should not turn their back to the sea and should be vigilant and cautious of the wave action at all times while fishing.
* Boaters, paddlers, sail boarders and anyone launching any kind of craft onto water should wear their life-jackets at all times while on water and carrythe following easily accessible safety equipment:
Red distress flares, communications cellphone or VHF radio with fully charged batteries in water tight plastic sleeves, a waterproof torch, highly visible neon coloured clothing and areferee whistle worn around the neck.
* Let a responsible person know your time of departure, your exact intended route and your estimated return time and check in with the responsible person on your safe return. (If you are overdue the responsible person should raise the alarm without hesitation).
* Everyone living along the coast or visiting the coast should have their local Sea Rescue Emergency phone number programmed in their phone.
Follow St Francis Chronicle on Twitter: @ stfranchronicle