A seven year old little girl and her family go to the beach on a warm day to enjoy the powdery white Florida sands, and the cool green surf. The young child decides to stay close to shore and play in the water near the protective gaze of her mother. As she begins to splash about in the waves and swim just above the sand, she unexpectedly finds herself further and further away from the beach. Eventually her mother and her family members are so far away, they appear faint on the increasingly ambiguous shore. The little girl desperately tries to swim back to the beach, the strong current standing in her way. She kicks as hard as she can, her tiny little arms attempting to work against the force of nature. Finally she becomes exhausted and is swallowed up by the beautiful bluish green waters.
Although, this story is fictional, tragedies such as these are not uncommon in our State and in beaches around the country.
As summer begins, we at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys would like to remind everyone to be careful during these months of leisure. As many as 200 Americans die every year from rip currents while enjoying the beach, and the state of Florida leads in accidental drownings over all other states. Two of the leading causes of death and injury are undertow and rip currents.
Undertow is a strong subsurface current that returns from sea to shore and can create waves that overpower even the strongest and most experienced swimmers.
Also dangerous to many beach goers are rip currents, which can flow out to sea, carrying unfortunate swimmers with them. If properly handled, tragedy can be avoided. Instead of swimming against the current, which can result in exhaustion and drowning, it is best to remain calm and swim parallel with the shore until out of the current. If the rip is too strong it is best calmly tread water, in order to conserve energy. Eventually, the current will lose it’s strength and the swimmer can return to shore quite easily.
As a coastal community we must each do our part to insure that our summer is not only fun, but safe for ourselves and our families.