The Aberdeen beach tragedy and the lives lost at Camber Sands are a reminder to us all how dangerous the sea can be.
At many beaches along the coast rip currents are one of the biggest dangers facing those heading into the water.
According to national statistics, more than 60% of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents.
But what are they and how can you spot one? The RNLI has put together a video to raise awareness of rip currents, a fast flowing body of water that can drag people and debris away from the shoreline and out to deeper water.
It explains how the current flow speeds are typically around 1-2mph but can reach up to 4.5mph – faster than an Olympic swimmer.
They can be difficult to spot, but sometimes they can be identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface. They’re most common on sandy beaches but can also form around permanent structures in the sea like piers or sea walls.
The rescue organisation has offered its top tips for how to avoid being sucked away by a rip current:
- Don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted
- If you can stand, wade, don’t swim
- If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.
- Always try and raise your hand and shout for help.