Spring tide adds to beach hazards

2014-12-23 00:00

LIFESAVING SA has issued a warning to the thousands of swimmers flocking to the beach to be extra vigilant today as there will be a spring tide.

James Ross, spokesperson for Lifesaving SA, said strong rip currents will be experienced over the next three days.

“The strong rip currents are caused by extreme high and low tides. The extremes result in a bigger than normal change between tides, which makes a larger volume of water drainage, between high and low tides.”

“This increased drainage of water forms strong rip currents that wash people further out in the surf and are the leading cause of drowning in the sea.”

Ross said that last December KwaZulu-Natal had three drownings in total.

“This year so far, we have had three drownings so far as well, but we are waiting for December 26 which is the traditional beach day.”

Ross urged the public to be cautious when swimming and to stay within the designated lifeguard markers.

South African Weather Services forecaster Christina Thaele said this week that the province was set for warm weather, with temperatures peaking on Christmas Day at 35° Celsius.

“Tomorrow we will have a 60% chance of rain across the province, with swells reaching two metres.

“On Thursday, swells will reach two ­metres with a 30% chance of rain and temperatures reaching 35° Celsius across the province.

“On Friday, we will have three to 3,5 metre swells, with the weather reaching up to 32° Celsius.”

• raisa.soodyal@witness.co.za

Safety tips

• IF you get into trouble in the sea, stay calm, because people drown as they become exhausted by panicking.

• Wave one arm above your head to signal for assistance. Use your other arm to help tread water. Conserve your energy so that you stay afloat until you are rescued.

• If caught in a rip current, strong swimmers should swim parallel to the shore towards breaking waves, while weaker swimmers should go with the current.

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