Tuesday, May 28, 2019


water safety
When heading to the beach are you nervous about shark attacks? For many people a fear of these predators is their primary fear about swimming during a beach vacation. Did you know though that there is something much more dangerous to be aware of when swimming in the sea that many people don't even think about before diving into the water? 

Last year four shark-related fatalities occurred worldwide, while 25 people died in Florida alone as the result of being caught in rip currents while swimming in the ocean. Rip currents are a strong flow of water that pushes outward from a beach into deeper water away from the shore.  Even the best of swimmers can have difficulty escaping the current while less experienced ones often become overwhelmed by fear or fatigue putting them at great risk of drowning. With more than 80% of beach rescues involving people being caught in rip currents this is a topic everyone should be aware of before going in the water on a beach vacation.

beach safety

So how do you protect yourself from becoming a rip current statistic? The number one recommendation from the United States Lifesaving Association, a non-profit membership organization for beach lifeguards, is learn to swim. A competent swimmer is more likely to navigate a rip current to get to safety or be able to tread water until rescue arrives compared to someone who lacks basic skills.

During a South Carolina beach vacation, I noticed rip tide warning signs posted in a number of spots during our stay in Myrtle Beach.  It made me feel a lot more comfortable letting my kids go in the water knowing they've developed swimming skills from attending Goldfish Swim School.

Water safety lessons have prepared them not to panic when unforeseen circumstances occur and to look for help they can call out to for assistance. Plus they have developed into decent swimmers that have the strength to ride out a rip current and make their way back to shore when its grip on them has lessened. They probably can swim better than I can now after a few years of their being coached at Goldfish Swim School.


Rip currents can push people hundreds of yards away from shore with water flowing as fast as 8 feet per second. That is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint! So rip currents can overwhelm even the strongest swimmers. Which is why it is important to be smart about escaping the current rather than just trying your hardest to swim straight back to shore.

So don’t try to fight the current. First try to swim out of the current horizontally in a direction following the shoreline instead of going vertically back to the beach. Then when out of the current make your way towards shore.

When that doesn't work, float and tread water allowing yourself to be carried by the current. Rip currents don't drag people under the water but rather push them away from the shore. Drowning occur when people become too fatigued to stay afloat. Once you get to a point where the water flow weakens then swim diagonally towards the shore trying to skirt away from the path of the rip current.

If it becomes apparent that you will be unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself.  Face yourself in the direction of shore, start waving your arms, and yell for help. Spot someone in need of assistance? Get a lifeguard or call 911. Don't try to be a hero because many people trying to lend a hand often become drowning victims themselves. Leave rescues to people who are trained for handling emergency situations.

water safety


Unfortunately, if spotting a rip current was easy they wouldn't be so dangerous. That being said there are some signs to keep an eye out for.  Rip currents typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars and near structures like piers. In these types of areas look for these warning signs:
  • a path of churning, choppy water
  • an area having a notable difference in water color
  •  a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving steadily away from shore
  • a break in the incoming pattern of waves


Don't be afraid to go swimming at the beach because of rip tides. Just ensure sure your family is aware of the danger and prepared for it. Make sure everyone knows what to do if caught in a rip current and has the confidence in their swimming ability not to panic.

Knowing everyone has swimming skills by taking lessons at someplace like Goldfish Swim School can make a big difference in providing peace of mind when your family is in and around water. The swimming and water safety skills that my kids have developed from the programs they've participated in at Goldfish Swim School have been invaluable to our family. Don't be scared of the water but rather give your children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of swimming.

rip current safety tips


Goldfish Swim School is dedicated to helping kids develop life skills in a fun, safe, play-based swim environment. Starting off at a single location in Metro Detroit, the swim school has expanded beyond Michigan with franchises across the United States. Goldfish Swim School has earned a Geek Daddy nod of approval for truly providing my children with a golden experience. Visit goldfishswimschool.com to learn more.

A Geek Daddy is a brand ambassador for Goldfish Swim School. My family receives complimentary products and services in exchange for sharing our experiences with the swim school. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

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