Rip currents are a deadly beach hazard in Australia

December 26, 2013 | Surfing
Rip currents: don't panic and go with the flow

Rip currents are killing more people in Australia than shark attacks, floods, tropical cyclones and bushfires combined.

According to Rob Brander, a rip expert at the University of New South Wales, 21 people drown in rips around Australia, on average.

"Studies show Australians do not understand rips and cannot identify rips as well as they think they can", Brander tells The Sidney Morning Herald.

"The reality is that tourists are not the big issue as some people might think. Usually they account for less than 10 per cent of fatalities".

Rob Brander is a coastal geomorphologist, and has dedicated his research to understanding common beach and surf hazards, such as rip currents.

His study involves measurements of rip current flow using GPS drifters, as well as measurements of swimmer escape strategies using GPS.

You can survive rip currents. First, don't panic because rips won't pull you under water. If you're tired, raise your hand so that a lifesaver can see you.

Also, you can try to swim towards white water because it means it's shallow, you may stand up, and it will bring you back to the beach. Never swim against the rip.

Discover Rob Brander's "Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book".

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