4 require beach rescue despite calm conditions
Conditions were listed as calm on P.E.I.'s new beach report webpage Monday when four people had to be rescued from a rip current off Basin Head.
Provincial lifeguard coordinator James Sullivan told CBC News surf conditions were calm that day, but that doesn't mean there weren't other hazards. Sullivan said the new beach safety webpage, which launched at the end of June, doesn't list site-specific hazards such as rip currents.
"It has to speak with the changing environment at the beach front on a daily basis," he said.
"That's something that the life guards every morning assess at their beach front and they post hazards that are specific to their beach front on a daily occurrence."
Rip currents form when water pushed onto shore rushes back out to sea between sand bars, creating a current too strong to swim against. They are most often associated with rough seas, but can occur in calm conditions.
Escaping from a rip current
Do not try to swim against it. The current will be too fast for even the strongest swimmer.
Swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current, and then head for the beach.
Sullivan said rip currents at Basin Head can be worse in calm conditions, because wave action isn't pushing swimmers back towards the shore.
There were eight rescue incidents at provincial park beaches Monday, said Sullivan. Given the warm weather, he said, he doesn't believe that number is unusually high.
Sullivan said visitors should always check hazard warning boards posted at entry points at all provincial park beaches. If they have any questions they should speak to a lifeguard.