VIDEO: Wildwood Beach Patrol Shares Ocean Safety TipsPosted:
WILDWOOD - A fun day at the beach can quickly turn into a nightmare because of what lies underneath the ocean’s surface, a strong current and rip tide.
“The lifeguards are doing preventative measures to keep people safe," said Wildwood Beach Patrol Chief Steve Stock. "They’re keeping people away from rip currents, they’re keeping people at safe bathing depths, or in front of a lifeguard stand, and if an emergency happens, they’re able to recognize it and respond, and make the rescue.”
Rip currents are constantly present in the ocean. When a large volume of water funnels together, it heads back out to sea, dragging whatever is there with them. Traditionally, people say to swim parallel to the sand, but Chief Stock suggests otherwise. He says fill your lungs and cheeks with air, float on your back, and try to relax until help gets to you.
“The ocean is dynamic and is very dangerous," said Stock. "It has no conscious, and it can take a life very quickly. So people just need to respect it and understand their ability. Don’t over estimate your abilities, and don’t underestimate the power of the ocean. You should stay out of the ocean when the life guards are not on duty.”
The Chief said that each beach town sees about six rescues per day, 80% of them because of a rip tide, sometimes after hours.
“You should not go in the water after dusk or dark, certainly, for sure," said Stock. "Number one, it’s unguarded, and number two, it’s just a very high risk activity."
But do Wildwood visitors know to stay away from the sea after sundown?
“Listen to the lifeguards, do as they say, and we try to stay in the water, not much over our knees if they’re not around,” said Darrell Eberly, of Lancaster, PA.
“Well, they put themselves at risk," said Chris and Laura Sperber, of Ringwood, NJ. "And I just don’t think it’s a great idea. I’d hate to see people in the community here at risk, whether it’s the people trying to save them, because they made a poor decision.”
“If I don’t have a life jacket and I drown, who’s going to save me? Sharks can get me if I go deep in the water, and I might get danger,” said Myles Bey, of Philadelphia.
The Chief wants to remind visitors to swim in front of the lifeguard stands and stay away from the “No Swimming” zones, marked by red flags.