These simple steps can prevent rip drownings
EVERY drowning in a rip current is preventable, says Rob Brander.
The UNSW associate professor and coastal geomorphologist has contributed a large body of research to the study of rip currents.
Five years on from the rip drowning of Sydney parents Carole and Joseph Sherry at South Ballina Beach while trying to save their two youngest, Dr Brander said more needs to be done.
"Theoretically, every rip current drowning is preventable because if you don't get in a rip, you won't drown in one," Dr Brander said.
"Often the rescuers are the ones who drown because they're in a heightened state of panic.
"Don't be scared of the rip, this thing is not taking you to New Zealand.
"Five minutes can be a long time when you're pretty worried but often rips can bring you back into the shallows or at the very least they take you out the back where it's relatively calm and somebody can come and get you.
"Slowly make your way towards the white water where the waves are breaking. The key thing is just don't be scared, don't freak out, don't panic."
Avoid getting caught:
Learn to identify rips
Swim between the flags
If no flags, go no further than waist deep and carry a flotation device
If someone's in trouble:
Stay calm. Don't run in
Grab something that floats: boogie board, surfboard, Esky
Have someone phone 000