During the height of the weekend’s seemingly never ending series of surf rescues up and down the central coast, North Lincoln Fire and Rescue Captain Jim Kusz spotted what he termed was a classic rip current, emanating from the Beverly Beach area, headed seaward.
It’s that narrow patch of blue water headed out from the little bay on the right edge of the photo toward and through the middle area of the breakers. Notice there are people in the shorebreak and in the inner-most line of breakers off to the right of the rip current. A small child could break into a run toward the water and be in the middle of the rip current in 15 seconds, after which the child would be pulled seaward at 5 to 7 miles per hour. That is far faster than even the strongest swimmers can swim – unless of course they put themselves in the rip currnt as well and then try to catch up to the child. Even if they do catch up, they must keep the child above water while trying to swim with one arm until they escape the rip current, and then have enough energy left to make it back to shore. For most people, the odds are not good. At all.
Captain Kusz says the central Oregon Coast is not a lake. It’s a big, unpredictable wild mass of water that can kill in an instant. It’s nothing that anyone should run blindly into without checking out where they’re running to. Capt. Kusz says always survey the water’s behavior in the near-shore area. If you see anything close to what is in his photograph above, do NOT enter the water. The ocean can be deceiving. You can go out into the breakers with plenty of sand underneath your feet – then suddenly find your footing gone and your eyes telling you that you’re headed out to sea, fast. If you are, don’t panic. Start swimming with even strokes parallel to the beach until you’re free of the outward bound current. Then turn toward the beach with continued even strokes until your feet find the bottom. Then walk back up onto the beach.
As Captain Kusz always says, “Play Safe at the Coast.” Treat the ocean with the respect that is REQUIRED.