An undercurrent is a dangerous condition that affects ocean swimmers and surfers. It is distinctly different than the currents that are visible from the surface, making them hard to anticipate. This kind of undercurrent frequently is referred to as a riptide, and knowing ahead of time the tips for avoiding this condition might save your life.
Check the Water's Surface for Telltale Undercurrent Signs
Survey the water's surface with binoculars from the highest spot possible. Before getting down to the beach and getting ready to surf or swim, check for patches of color inconsistencies below the surface. These might include a darker color brought on by swirling sand and debris, a lighter color brought on by bubbles and foam or a greenish color associated with seaweed that got caught up in the undercurrent. You will recognize this kind of color phenomenon is limited to only a certain area, tipping you off there is a good chance of a riptide occurring. The best tip for avoiding this kind of undercurrent is to check with your binoculars for a safer spot devoid of the color changes.
Stay Away from Areas Associated with Undercurrents
Choose a surfing or swimming location that is far from a pier or the jetties. These structures are well-known locales for undercurrents, and the only way to avoid getting caught up in one is by keeping away from the area. If you must remain in the general vicinity of a pier or jetty, remember that the higher the waves, the stronger the undercurrent. The best tip in this instance is to avoid the water when there is high surf.
Avoid Drowning in an Undercurrent with the Help of a Flotation Device
Better your odds of survival by wearing a light-colored flotation device, such as the Extrasport UT3 life jacket. This kind of basic-flotation device enables you to have the peace of mind needed if you get swept out to sea by a riptide. At the same time, the light color makes you easy to spot for rescuers, who will notice your device quickly from shore or from the air. Even if you are by yourself and rescue is unlikely, the flotation device will keep you sufficiently buoyant to have a fighting chance for returning to shore along the edge of the undercurrent.
Article Written By Sylvia Cochran
Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.