Rip current video aims to prevent drownings
P.E.I. National Park has produced a video about the dangers of rip currents on Island beaches.
The video educates swimmers about the dangerous water currents to try and prevent people from being swept out to sea and drowning.
A rip current is a strong channel of water that flows out to sea from near the shore and can occur at any beach with breaking waves including any of the world's oceans, seas and large lakes.
Peter Murphy, a public safety specialist at P.E.I. National Park, said rip currents can be extremely dangerous if a swimmer doesn't know what to do.
"The water has nowhere to go so it forms a fast moving stream back moving out towards the ocean," Murphy said, "and the danger is when swimmers get caught in this stream and it carries them out to sea."
Murphy also has some advice on what to do if swimmers find themselves caught in a rip current.
"The way to get out is to swim laterally from it," he said.
The video teaches swimmers how to swim parallel to the beach instead of directly back to shore, and why rip currents are so dangerous.
It was produced with first responder groups across P.E.I.
Across North America, around 100 people drown each year as a result of rip currents.
And, in the past five years, at least two of those drownings happened here on P.E.I.
Jeremy Coffin, supervising surfguard at the park, said people should be aware of the dangers of the water before they dive in and this new video is one way to educate them.
"The currents run at one to two metres a second and even an Olympic swimmer can't swim at that rate, so if you're just an average swimmer there's no chance of getting back on shore," Coffin said.
This weekend, surfguard supervisors will be training new staff.
The national park officially opens on Saturday but surfguards won't be on duty until June 28.
In the meantime, they hope this educational video might get the word out about the dangers that exist in Island waters.