During the last week there have been a number of unfortunate drowings in New York City beaches including two at Coney Island and one at Jacob Riis Park.
It appears that the young swimmers were taken away by riptides. Rip currents are strong, narrow channels of water that flow away from the beach.
Here are some tips for beach safety:
- Only swim where a lifeguard is on duty.
- Obey posted signs and warning flags. If a portion of the beach is closed due to tides, then do not swim in that area. If you are unsure, ask a lifeguard.
- Swimmers caught in a riptide should swim parallel to the beach until they are out of the current. After escaping the current, walk or swim back to shore.
- Do not go into the ocean unless you know how to swim.
- NEVER let a child swim alone. Always supervise young children.
- Do not turn your back on the ocean. The slightest wave can knock you over.
- Stay out of rough surf and muddy water. Muddy ocean water is likely from a rip current.
Have a happy and safe visit to the shore!
Mark E. Seitelman, 7/28/08, www.seitelman.com