Beware strong rip currents along the coast this weekend

NSRI National H/O warns people on the coast to be extra cautious this weekend with the Full Moon Spring Tide that will cause stronger than normal rip currents. 

 Coastal people are urged to be careful  over this weekend and  the first half of next week.  The Full Moon Spring tide peaks today, 7 November.

Very strong rip currents will be present around the coast over the next six days.  Bathers and shoreline anglers are most at risk and extreme caution is advised

 Spring Tides happen twice every month at full moon and at new moon. They bring a higher than normal high tide and a lower than normal low tide, causing stronger than normal rip currents for a few days leading up to the full moon or new moon.

The tides peak on the day of the full moon and last for a few days after the full moon.

There are two high tides and two low tides every day. During Spring Tide the twice daily high tides are higher than normal and the twice daily low tides are lower than normal .  During Spring Tides the rip currents are stronger than normal rip currents.

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 (rivers of water retreating through the incoming swells back out into the sea).

There are two types of rip currents – permanent  and temporary rip currents.

Oermanet rip currents occur alongside islands, rocky outcrops jutting into the sea, at river mouths, in between reefs and alongside harbour walls and piers. They occur always in the same place allowing the water reaching the shoreline to retreat back into the sea in the permanent rip current.

Temporary rip currents are found along beach fronts. These currents are forever changing their position and are unpredictable. They can form suddenly along a beach front without warning at different places along the shore front throughout the day.

 During Spring Tides  permanent  and temporary rip currents are 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.

 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. Let the current sweep you out to sea but 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 arms 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. Only swim within the safe swimming zones lifeguards mark (using their red and yellow flags).

 Children should have responsible adult supervision at all times 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 crash higher than normally 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 carry easily accessible safety equipment. The equipment should include  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, a referee whistle worn around the neck.

People going out on the water should let a responsible person know the time of departure, the  exact intended route and estimated return times. They should check in with the responsible person on their safe return. (If they are overdue the responsible person should raise the alarm without hesitation).


Follow St Francis Chronicle on Twitter: @stfranchronicle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s