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Headline: Danger: Rip currents!

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – One of my favorite places to swim along the Treasure Coast is the beach at Round Island Park at the south end of Indian River County. So I was distressed that on just one day five people had to be rescued there after being swept seaward by powerful rip currents. It just shows how dangerous rip currents can be. One of the five was a woman who had to be taken to the hospital. Two of them were a man and a woman who tried to save her. Later that day a 13-year-old girl and her father also were caught in a rip current. All were rescued by lifeguards. Just six days before that, some 13 swimmers were rescued from rip currents at public beaches in St. Lucie and Martin counties. Nine of them were at Stuart Beach. A rip current is a channel of water rushing away from the shore. Rip currents can be the result of storms in the Atlantic, which are common this time of year. The best advice is to swim only where lifeguards are on duty. Never swim alone. Stay out of the water if red flags are flying. If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm. Don't try to swim against the current. Instead, swim parallel to the beach. Once you are out of the rip current, head for shore. In Florida, rip currents kill more people every year than thunderstorms, hurricanes and tornados combined. Don't be one of them. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.