Stay safe at the beach this summer
Tropical Storm Debby reminded Floridians not only of the flooding dangers of a tropical storm, but also that a tropical system can produce dangerous rip currents in the waters off our local beaches. Over the past week and a half since Tropical Storm Debby sent driving rains, winds, and tornadoes over Pinellas County, numerous individuals have been caught in dangerous rip currents near St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. Sadly, a young boy and a woman died as a result of being dragged out by a rip current.
Rip currents should always be a concern for families and individuals visiting our local beaches. Although the water may look calm on the surface, dangerous rip currents can be lurking underneath. Keep the following tips in mind when venturing out to the beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and water:
- Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.
- Never swim alone.
- Learn how to swim in the surf. It’s not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.
- Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.
- Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.
- Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist along side these structures.
- Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.
- Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
If you ever find yourself caught in a rip current, remember the following:
- Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
- Never fight against the current.
- Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
- Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle–away from the current–towards shore.
- If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
- If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
The law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes has been serving the community and representing the injured since 1955. If you, a family member, or a friend ever have questions about your legal rights, do not hesitate to contact Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes. The consultation is always freeand you will meet with the attorney who will be handling your case. Here at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, we will see you through.