Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rip currents

Again the sea has claimed the lives of bathers along the coast, over the weekend there were two people drowned one at Guardamar and one at La Marina there were also several people who got into difficulties and were rescued or managed to reach the shore. I witnessed one person being swept out to sea on a strong rip current, after initial panic they swam parallel to the beach and escaped the current but were very exhausted by the time rescuers reached them to help them ashore. After the spring gales the seabed at Guardamar now varies in depth dramatically and there are many sandbars and deep hollows, when the sea gets slightly rougher the waves pour over the sandbars and the water rushes out through the deeper channels this is where the danger is as the water can be moving at up to 2.5 metres a second and in a minute you can be up to 100 metres off the seashore, once the race of water gets to the end of the channel the current dissipates and by swimming to one side of the rip and then towards the beach you can reach the safety of the shore - that is if you are not exhausted by this time.
The Cruz Roja Lifeguards do nor start their patrols untill June, and it is obvious that the patrols are needed earlier in the season.


Eoghan said...

Hi John,

The information you have provided on rip currents is very useful,I am especially interested in the view that the spring gales may be a factor.
Unfortunately this is because my father (from Ireland) drowned on Guardamar beach on May 22nd, he rented a property with my Mum every year for 2 weeks over the last 5 years and swam daily there but drowned very quickly that day.
He was 75 but still full of life and respectful of the sea.

My family would like to ensure this does not happen to another family through either some signs for tourists or ideally life guard presence for additional months.

Do you have an idea of how many people drown there every year?

From conversations with a couple of local people, we were shocked to hear that many tourists drown there every year, the only signs I could see on the beach were to stop dogs.


John and Mary Middleton said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
There are always several deaths a year on Guardamar beach, im sure they will not publicise the beach is dangerous as it would be detrimental to the holiday trade, unfortunately the beach is unattended early and late season and the only way to change this would be to lobby the town hall to allocate a larger budget for the lifeguards, the person i witnessed was actually my son in law, who is from Australia, he knew to put his hand up in the air to alert those on shore he was in difficulty and i am sure when he could see people on shore were aware of his trouble it gave him moral support. i spoke to the police immediately afterwards regarding lack of lifebelts etc, and how dangerous the currents were. This was previous to your Fathers accident. If only they had called out the Cruz Roja to put up the red flags.