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    • 16 May 12

    Safety advice for swimmers in Costa Rica

    How can you identify a riptide? 1. A channel of turbulent water moving out to sea. 2. An area that has a visibly unusual color, usually due to the swirling sediment from the beach. 3. A formation of foam, algae or litter moving uniformly out to sea. 4. A disturbance in the waveline coming to shore. 5. One or all of the aforementioned, however, may not be visible. This is the case with beach that have thick sediment or whitesand beaches like Cocles beach on the Caribbean side and the interior beaches of Manuel Antonio, to name a few… How can people avoid problems with these currents? 1. Learning to swim, or not going into the water if you are no a swimmer. 2. If you like to surf, you should know how to swim in conditions that surf areas present. It is not the same as swimming in a lake or swimming pool… 3. Never swimming alone. 4. Swimming close to lifeguards. 5. Looking for signs, notices or warning flags indicating possible dangers to swimmers. Normally red flags will indicate danger. 6. Talk with lifeguards or locals in the area before entering the water. 7. Follow all instructions from lifeguards or authorized persons. 8. Be cautions. Always assume that riptides are present, even if they aren´t. 9. If unsure, don´t go into the water. What can I do if a riptide gets a hold of me? 1. Try to stay calm to conserve energy. 2. Don’t fight the current. 3. Swim perpendicular to the current or parallel to the beach. 4. Once you feel that you are free of the currents, swim to shore. 5. If unable to do the aforementioned, wade in the water. The force of the current lessens as it goes out to sea. When the current diminishes, swim toward the shore. 6. If, at any moment, you feel that you cannot reach the shore, get someone´s attention: face the beach, wave your arms and shout for help. How can you help someone being dragged by a riptide? 1. Ask a lifeguard for help. 2. If there is no lifeguard, ask someone to call 911 or the Red Cross directly. 3. Throw the victim something that floats: a cooler, a life jacket, an inflatable ball. 4. Shout instructions on how to escape. 5. Do not help directly unless you have specific training. Many have died trying to save others. 6. Look for information on ocean conditions on various websites. 7. When you go to the beach, ask the lifeguard or locals, of the possibilities of riptides or other threats that may arise.