Why Rip currents cause more deaths at Lagos beaches and how to avoid drowning

 A trip to  the beach is an ideal way of spending some free time but an innocent, idyllic trip can turn to a nightmarish experience for others.
Why Rip currents cause more deaths at Lagos beaches and how to avoid drowning

Remember the story of the two Unilag female graduate students that drowned at Elegushi beach, Lagos during a party to celebrate their final exams, they must have been casualties of Rip currents.
Rip currents cause more deaths and fatal accidents at beaches resulting in loss of lives or near drowning incidents.

What are Rip currents?
Rip currents or rip or rip tides are formed by the sudden surges of powerful waves caused by fast flowing water running from the sea/ocen onto the beach. Due to the sudden, unusual nature, most victims are unaware and unprepared which makes them helpless when these strong currents pulls them back towards the sea.

10 ways to prevent drowning on beaches and avoid Rip currents' fatal incidents
1. The beaches must be made safe and secured, guarded at all points by the appropriate authorities managing beaches. Unfortunately, Lagos beaches (Elegushi, bar beach, Ikate beach, Badagry beach) are yet to be properly managed to ensure safety. Though fees are paid by beach lovers and tourists to enjoy the sea and local views, more should be done to keep the beaches safe. Beach managing authorities should:
  • Employ more lifeguards and life savers and  erect color flags 
  • Have a monitoring tower, where the lifeguard can see all what is happening on the beach.
  • Remove stones, rocks, sharp objects that are dangerous and aslo clear beaches frequently of dirt and refuse.
  • 10 ways to prevent drowning on beaches and avoid Rip currents' fatal incidents
     Sign post erected on a  beach
  • Erect Sign posts across the beaches to warn and inform the public. 
2. Beach users must follow warnings and be able to understand the color coded flags on beaches. No swim zone, means no swimming in that area.  No one is immune to rip currents even the strongest swimmers can be swept off their feet.

3. Young ones, children and non-swimmers must be supervised at all times.  

4. Be health and safety conscious. The first step to safety start with you. Avoid going close to the  water's edge if 
  • You are not a strong swimmer
  • There is no visible lifeguard present
  • Sense a rip current coming on or unsure about the water waves.
5. Educate and enlighten: The holidays are fast approaching, children are closing from school soon. Educate yourself and them about the dangers of rip currents, when going to the beach.

6. Know how to spot a rip current and avoid it. Look for gaps in water waves, a gap indicate there is a rip tide coming in.

7. Avoid stony, rocky areas around the beach. Rip currents are strongest in these areas. 

8. Never swim alone

9. Swim in shallow waters only , in shallow waters, even with a rip tide, you can easily regain your footing. 

10. Respect Rip tides, never go into them intentionally,  only swim in strong water waves except you are a strong surfer, lifeguard or swimmer.

What to do to prevent drowning from rip currents
When caught up in rip currents, try the following:
1.Signal for help, yell or call out to nearby swimmers/lifeguards to alert them to your situation.

What to do to prevent drowning from rip currents
2. Lie on your back and float. Imagine the current is a life vest, because effectively that's what it is doing. This position also gives you time to calm yourself down and think plus by looking at the sky, and not seeing yourself being dragged inwards, you'll feel less panic. Do not struggle or else you get pulled downwards and drown fast. 

3. Swim to the side and don't attempt swimming back to shore because you will tire out and drown. 

4. New swimmers should wear floating tubes, inflatable tires when swimming till they perfect the swimming technique. 

5. When help arrives, just follow the instructions, hold on to the rescuer arms and not drag him or pull tight, you will end up dragging both of you down. Have some faith.

Rip currents can be found in any large body of water and has caused deaths in large numbers all over the world.