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Newport Beach Lifeguard Tips - #1 Riptides: What You Need To Know


What are Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful, channeled, currents of water moving away from shore. They are especially dangerous for weak and non-swimmers, but it is important to note that they can sweep even the most well trained and strongest swimmer out to sea in just seconds. The speed of a rip currents averages about 1 - 2 feet per second and can even get as high as 8 feet per second. A rip current can be spotted by noticing a change in water color, a channel of churning, chopping water, a change in the wave pattern, and a line of foam flowing out to the sea. This is the leading hazard for all surfers, swimmers, and beachgoers and accounts for the vast majority of water rescues. Never swim alone and if possible, swim at beaches with lifeguards present and pay attention. West Newport Beach has 8 rock groins which create holes in the sand near these structures. Do not swim or wade near the rocks in order to avoid dangerous situations. It's important to stay safe so you can have the best Newport Beach vacation possible! 

How Escape a Rip Current

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, the first and one of the most important tips is to stay calm. You need to conserve your energy and be able to think logically. Do not try to swim against the current. Escape the current by swimming in a direction parallel to the shoreline. Once you are out of the current swim towards shore. If you feel exhausted and like you won't make it to shore, rest by floating, and then draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and calling for help.


How do I Help Someone Stuck in a Rip Current? 

If you see someone trapped, immediately get help from a lifeguard. Lifeguards are certified and trained in water rescue, so do not try and rescue someone yourself because you may become a victim as well. If a lifeguard is not present, call 911 and yell instructions on how to escape. If possible, throw the rip current victim something that floats. 

Lifeguard Flag System

Understanding the colored flag system is necessary when spending a day at the beach. Flags will be placed on the lifeguard tower clearly visible for everyone to see.
Green     -  Small waves. Rip currents may be present             
Yellow    -  Moderate conditions. Larger waves. Rip currents are present 
Red         -  Hazardous conditions. Large waves. Expert ocean swimmers only! 
Blackball - No surfboards or skimboards due to crowds. Bodyboards are ok, except at the Wedge.  

Check out more Newport Beach Vacation Tips!

Published on Wednesday, July 13, 2016