Most people can’t spot a rip. Can you?

People cool off at Wollongong City beach as the mercury climbs on Wednesday. High humidity and maximum of 29.3 degrees was recorded at Bellambi, while Albion Park sweated through 36.5. Picture: Adam McLean

People cool off at Wollongong City beach as the mercury climbs on Wednesday. High humidity and maximum of 29.3 degrees was recorded at Bellambi, while Albion Park sweated through 36.5. Picture: Adam McLean

Sixty-nine per cent of Australians are unable to identify a rip.

It’s a staggering statistic, but one that doesn’t surprise Surf Life Saving Illawarra president Val Zanotto.  

“It would be great for everyone to really understand it [rip identification] properly, but it’s not necessarily that easy,” he said. 

“If you're not a regular beachgoer, you can tend to be a little bit confused as to identifying a rip correctly.”

As hundreds of people flocked to the region’s beaches to beat Wednesday’s heat, many were likely unaware of the dangers posed by the ocean’s movement.

“Rips definitely are a problem, but if they swim between the flags they’ll have no issues,” he said.

There have been 16 swimming-related drownings in the Illawarra since 2005, with the most-recent at Puckey’s beach last year, according to Surf Life Saving NSW.

A SLSNSW spokesman said the “vast majority” of swimming incidents were the result of people getting into difficulty in a rip current.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop