Watch out for riptides when swimming, rescue brigade warns as temperatures climb
With the weather turning hot in the Netherlands from today, the Rescue Brigade warns people seeking coolness in the sea to watch out for riptides. “It will be extremely hot and extremely crowded. So we’re giving people extra warning. Don’t panic, but pay extra attention,” a spokesperson said to the Telegraaf.
There are several risks at sea. The east wind, for example, means that riptides will be extra strong, and people on inflatables can quickly be blown to the open sea. “In addition, you get an upper current, which makes you think that you’re an Olympic champion when you swim into the sea. But out will be tough,” the Rescue Brigade spokesperson said.
If you do end up in a rip tide - sideways currents between sandbanks - don’t try to swim against the current, the Rescue Brigade advised. Let the current carry you along and swim sideways when it decreases. Once you’re behind the sandbank, you can swim ashore. Inexperienced swimmers should not go into the sea deeper than knee level.
If you see someone in trouble, call 112 immediately, the spokesperson said. “Because then both we and other emergency services will be alerted. And very important: don’t be the hero yourself, no matter how unnatural that may feel,” they said. “We regularly see that the rescuer gets into trouble. A drowning person is in a panic and clings to the rescuer. Then quickly, you’re both in trouble.”
Inland water carries some different risks. “You see that blue-green algae are now rapidly advancing, and people look for alternatives. But canals, for example, are not suitable for swimming water. Some waters have unexpected currents.”
The drought is also causing other problems, the spokesperson added. “Lakes often have a shallow part, which eventually drains into deep water. Due to the lowered water level, you can reach the deep part much faster.” And that brings currents and colder water with it.