July is designated as Beach Safety & Rip Current Awareness Month. During July we use this month to bring attention to rip currents and safety at the beach. I would like to take this opportunity to educate and spread awareness for beach safety.
According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rips currents are channelized currents of water flowing from shores. These currents are very powerful and typically form at breaks in sandbars, jetties, and piers. Rip currents are dangerous because they pull people away from the shore and from moment to moment the speeds of the currents can change quickly. On average, rip current speeds are approximately 1-2 feet per second but can be as fast as 8 feet per second. Being aware of rip currents and looking for clues in the water can be lifesaving. Some tips to look for rip currents are to look for a channel of churning and choppy water and breaks in the wave patterns, or a line of foam, seaweed, or debris moving seaward. However, all of these clues or none of them may be visible. If you get caught in a rip current here are some steps to take:
• Don’t fight the current,
• Swim out of the current, or parallel to the shore, then towards the shore
• If you can’t escape, float or tread water
• And if you need help, yell and wave for assistance
The most important thing you can do is to watch the Flag Warning System. The flags displayed are red flags, yellow flags, green flags, blue flags, and orange flags. Red flags indicate extremely hazardous conditions, and suggest to avoid the water. Yellow flags indicate the conditions are moderately hazardous, which typically means swimmers can swim but should proceed with caution. Green flags mean water conditions are safe, but as always, be prepared for changing conditions. Blue flags mean that marine life may be present and could pose a threat to swimmers. Finally, orange flags indicate there is an environmental threat in the air or water that can be hazardous to beachgoers. For example, there may be high bacteria levels, or poor air or water quality.
It is important to understand the dangers at the beach and how to protect your family. For more information about rip currents, please visit the National Weather Services. For more information and educational material, you may also visit the United States Lifesaving Association. To learn more about the Beach Flag Warning System visit Corpus Christi Beach Flag Warning System. For daily updates on the flag warning system visit: https://www.facebook.com/CCBeaches/. You can also get daily beach cast updates from the National Weather Service.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns, or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 512-463-0672.