RNLI calls to those rescued from rip currents to help with vital research

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 25 August 2011

RNLI calls to those rescued from rip currents to help with vital research Anyone who has experienced being caught in a rip current is being asked by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to help the charity with important research by completing an online survey about their experience.

RNLI calls to those rescued from rip currents to help with vital research Anyone who has experienced being caught in a rip current is being asked by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to help the charity with important research by completing an online survey about their experience. Rips are strong currents that can quickly drag people out to sea, beyond their depth. They are the major cause of incidents that RNLI lifeguards respond to each year - last year, they accounted for 38% of all sea-based incidents that the charity’s lifeguards responded to. The RNLI, one of MCS’ charity partners, has been working with the University of Plymouth to carry out research into the physical characteristics of rip currents, to help develop models to predict when and where rip currents are likely to occur. To supplement this research, the charity is also seeking information from people who have experienced being pulled out to sea by a rip, to gain a better understanding of behaviour in rip incidents. The charity, again working with the University of Plymouth, has created an online survey, which asks information about swimming ability, knowledge and experience of being caught in rip currents - including where the experience took place, and how they reacted and escaped the rip. The information gathered by the survey will be used to develop future public safety information campaigns. Adam Wooler, RNLI Head of Coastal Safety and Research, explains: “Rip currents are consistently one of the biggest causes of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each year, but very little is currently known about how people react when they become caught in one, which means it’s difficult to know how to educate people to avoid getting caught in one in the first place.” ‘The online survey aims to provide more information about people who get caught in rips, what they understand about them and how they respond. Recent studies carried out in Australia have shown that better understanding of how people behave when caught in a rip and how to teach them to avoid rips, is key to reducing the number of incidents and rescues.” ‘We’re inviting anyone who has ever experienced a rip current to help us out by taking part in the survey at www.rnli.org.uk/ripsurvey. We hope the results will help us to develop a national public safety information campaign and teach people about how to respond when caught in a rip, to try and reduce the number of incidents.’ Anyone who has experienced a rip current, and who would like to take part in the survey, should visit www.rnli.org.uk/ripsurvey.

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