How to Get Out of an Undertow

undertow

How to Get Out of an Undertow

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The ocean really is a dynamic place don’t you think? It’s unpredictable in pretty much every way. Yet, at the same time brings so much desire beneath its depths.

Since the ocean is so intriguing it’s important to always remain safe because you never know what to expect from it. Currents are extremely dangerous especially if you do not know the proper, and utter most safest way to get out of the situation. Growing up in Florida for my entire life, I was taught to always swim with caution. An interesting fact about myself is that I attended an environmental camp at a local beach every summer growing up.

Aside from learning about all of the creatures living in the ocean and sand, we took a lot of time to learn about survival skills when swimming in the ocean. Something that my camp counselors taught me and my fellow classmates was how to get out of a sticky situation when swimming in the ocean. Situations with rip currents, rip tides and, undertows was a topic we talked about a lot. The most important rule was to always remain calm and access each situation as they come.

Since all three scenarios are very dangerous, strategies must be taught to help prevent getting into situations that could cost you your life.  Unfortunately, things do happen and there is a good chance that you could get stuck in a negative situation like this. Therefore, to prevent drowning it’s very important to your safety for you to know the steps to help remove you or a friend from rip currents.

Steps to remove yourself:

1. Be able to understand and identify a rip current.
-If you understand the difference between all three, you are all set.

2. Remove yourself from danger early if you start to see the signs.
-Don’t risk it.

3. Always remain calm.
-If you struggle, you will wear yourself out, and get tired quickly.

4. Call for help at any given time if you are uncomfortable or maybe a poor swimmer.
-Don’t be afraid to scream for help, even if you are a good swimmer.

5. Always remember to swim parallel to the shore to escape the current.
-Make sure to get out of the direction the current is pulling you at.

6. Conserve your energy when it’s necessary.
-If you start to get tired, try floating for a while then proceed.

7. Swim diagonally towards the shore, never go straight forward or backwards.
-It’s the only way to break free, and ultimately escape.


To prevent yourself from getting caught in one of these situations, pay attention to the flags at the beach and understand the warnings.

Look at the ocean do you notice a split in the waves, or sand bars. These are signs that you probably shouldn’t venture out too far.

As I addressed earlier, drowning is a scary result that could come from these three types of currents. So, these seven steps can potentially save your life, and are extremely detrimental to remember and in the future teach others. Next time you and your family visits Ft. Walton Beach make sure to educate yourself and your children before sliding on your flip-flops and heading to the beach.

Going to the beach is a local’s favorite thing to do. Don’t let the risks scare you. Respect the ocean and be aware of the risks.


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