Learn how to spot a rip.
Learn how to spot a rip. Contributed

Learning to spot a rip could save your life

BEFORE rushing into the surf this summer, Royal Life Saving is urging locals and visitors to take a moment to observe the water and be on the lookout for rips or currents.

Rips are one of the most common hazards at Australian beaches.

Royal Life Saving describe rips as fast-flowing currents where the water flows out in the direction causing the least resistance. Recognising a rip is the first step in being able to avoid being caught in one.

To recognise a rip, look for discoloured water, which is often brown in colour due to sand being stirred from the bottom, foam on the surface that extends beyond the breaking waves, a ripple appearance when the water around is generally calm, debris floating with the current and waves breaking larger and further out on both sides of the rip.

If you are caught in a rip, the most important thing to do is not panic, remain calm.

Poor or non-swimmers are recommended to go with the rip, float, wave and wait to be rescued.

Weak or tired swimmers should swim parallel to the shore and return to shore when conditions allow.

If you're a strong swimmer, either swim parallel to the shore or angle your body diagonally across the current, returning to the shore through the breaking waves.

To keep yourself safe at the beach this summer, Royal Life Saving recommends always swimming between red and yellow flags. Never swim at unpatrolled beaches and never swim alone.

For more information on rips, visit goo.gl/KMzU4T.