National | Health & Safety

What to do when caught in a rip

A new rip current safety education campaign is teaching New Zealanders what to do if they find themselves caught in a rip while swimming.

Surf Life Saving NZ CEO Paul Dalton says, “Many people think when they are caught in a rip that they’re strong enough to out swim it, but not even an Olympic swimmer can beat a rip."

SLSNZ and TSB are sharing the message to, “Remember the three R’s. Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip.

“Rip currents will quickly carry you away from the shore and it will be frightening, but if you follow the three R’s you will be in the best possible position to get to safety," says Dalton.

In the last ten years, 51 fatalities have been linked to rips and 80 percent of rescues involve swimmers caught in rip currents.

Māori swimmers make up 15 per cent of those rescued, with most incidents taking place at Northland Beaches.

Dalton is calling on all New Zealanders to spread the message: Relax, raise and ride.

“Get everyone talking about rip safety, test your whanau’s knowledge regularly and make sure you remind anyone of the catchy phrase before they enter the water.”