this post was submitted on 21 Jun 2024
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A Pennsylvania couple drowned in a rip current while on vacation in Florida with their six children, according to authorities.

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[–] [email protected] 80 points 3 weeks ago (2 children)

That’s terrible. If you’re unlucky enough to get caught up in a rip, always swim parallel to the beach until you get yourself out of the current, and failing that, focus your energy on staying floating.

[–] [email protected] 49 points 3 weeks ago

I'm gonna be honest with you chief if I had 6 kids, I'd let the ocean take me.

[–] [email protected] 18 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (6 children)

Knew about the swim parallel to the shore thing, but how do you recognise you're caught up in a rip? Is it super noticeable?

[–] [email protected] 36 points 3 weeks ago

Ideally you notice it from the shore and avoid it as others have mentioned. If you're swimming in one you'll realize soon enough you're getting taken out from the shore.

I got caught in one when I was a teenager off Mission Beach in San Diego. I'd already been out swimming in water deeper than I could stand in for a while and, getting tired, started heading to shore. After some time I realized I wasn't making any progress at all. It took me a little while more to realize what was up: I was in a rip current. Thankfully I'd had an elementary school teacher in Phoenix, AZ of all places that taught us kids how to escape one and I remembered - swim parallel to the shore a good distance and then try swimming back in again and check your progress. Repeat as needed if you're unable to make progress. I followed those instructions and eventually was able to get back to shore, utterly exhausted. I can't help but think how lucky I was not to have missed that day of school.

[–] [email protected] 27 points 3 weeks ago

If you've ever played in the surf and can feel when a wave pulls you towards the ocean before another wave pushes you back towards the beach. It's like that, but just the undertow part. It's very noticable.

[–] [email protected] 22 points 3 weeks ago

This site has a few photos that illustrate what it looks like.

https://www.mypanhandle.com/news/local-news/bay-county/panama-city-beach/panama-city-beachs-rip-currents-explained/

You can see that it’s fairly narrow, which is why swimming parallel to shore works.

[–] [email protected] 22 points 3 weeks ago

From the shore you can actually see them. It’s an area with fewer waves than the surrounding surf; the water can appear either deeper in color or sandy/seaweedy. The photos online will show you better than I can describe. If you get caught by one while in the ocean, you’ll know. The current will be strongly pulling you away from the shore.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 3 weeks ago

In my experience it is noticable.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 3 weeks ago

That's a good question.

[–] [email protected] 51 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

Think of it like a river. If you were getting washed away down a river, would you try to save yourself by swimming up river to where you were? No, you swim to the bank and make your way back from there.

A rip current is just a river in the ocean.

Edit: meant to reply to Not_Rick

[–] [email protected] 35 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

Rip currents usually reach a speed of 1 to 2 feet per second, but some can clock in at 8 feet per second, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer,

A decent swimmer can maybe swim 3-4 fps. I seriously doubt these middle-aged parents could.

Something that's weird when you're out in the ocean wading in deep water and with waves is your distance to shore can be very deceptive. Without realizing you'll be another 50 yards out from shore in a matter of minutes.

[–] [email protected] 21 points 3 weeks ago (2 children)

Awful way to go. Stay safe out there, folks.

[–] [email protected] 25 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago) (2 children)

Yeah, they're usually marked, but ocean temp changes a lot of shit and you can run across ones with zero signage.

I'd imagine Florida is especially bad because they refuse to believe in climate change and anything connected to it.

So I can see them defunding the organizations meant to keep this updated and people safe

[–] [email protected] 6 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

If you go into the ocean you should know a little bit about how to survive in it. Otherwise, you may not.

[–] [email protected] 2 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

There is zero reliable ways to tell if there's a rip from the beach...

The danger is under the waves, if there isn't proper signage you won't know until it's probably too late. And everyone is different. The teens were able to swim to safety, the parents weren't.

If you recognize you're in a rip current, what you can try to do is swim parrell to the shore and then try to come in. It's dangerous because the rip can't be overcome by swimming directly in, you have to go around it.

But even if you know that, you might not remember, and it might not help.

The people that often die from this, are overconfident people like you who think it can't happen to them because they're smart.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

I never claimed that I would survive. However, I know that the beaches I've been to in North Florida warn of rip currents and you can feel their effect very close to the shore. It's a game you wouldn't want to play when you're already tired or dehydrated.

[–] [email protected] 1 points 3 weeks ago

I'm not trying to pick a fight, and I know I'm probably coming off like a dick.

But it's not just for your benefit, you're downplaying a serious danger and victim blaming. This can happen to anyone at an unmarked beach, which is why government agencies monitoring this shit is important.

You can go do what you want. But don't make people feel like it's not a big deal.

Especially when the Gulf has weaker rips than every other coastline in North America, because it's a gulf.

It's like me saying no one has to worry about drowning because I only swim in kiddie pools. When the whole ocean is behind a rip it's entirely different. There are still rips, and people do die from them in the Gulf. But they're just not as strong as elsewhere. And part of the reason people die there, is they don't take them serious.

[–] [email protected] 6 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

Only swim where there are lifeguards and never ever underestimate the ocean.

[–] [email protected] 16 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

I thought the ocean was powerful and rough water was nothing. Then I went to Hawaii during rain season. Rip tides are no joke.

I'm good size 6ft 240lbs. I got hit with one wave and I had to reflect on life after that. I went from big man to flailing boy quick. I saw the lord!

[–] [email protected] 8 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

Just swim sideways or float. It's so easy to float in the ocean and doesn't take much energy. Most people panic, though, and don't remember to do simple things. When I was in lifeguard training, most of the stuff they teach you is how to deal with completely irrational actions people do when panicking.

Also, never underestimate the ocean (or any moving water). I've been swimming, waterskiing, surfing, scuba diving, whitewater kayaking, sailing for over 40 years, and I've had a TON of instances of "oh shit, I have zero control over what the water is doing to me right now." Just completely powerless as the ocean tosses you around or the river pulls you down behind a boulder and holds you until you can find the bottom and kick out of the "hole."

[–] [email protected] 15 points 3 weeks ago (1 children)

There’s nothing more terrifying than getting pitted into the sea bottom by a wave. It was drilled into my head as a child that you need to respect the ocean or it will kill you for your arrogance.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 3 weeks ago

Yeah, the "washing machine" while you try to find the bottom to kick off. You're in 3ft of water and can't find either the bottom or the air.