A surf lifesaver who helped saved a whole family in a single rescue has revealed the trick to escaping a rip as Australia endures a horror drowning season.
Tallebudgera Club Captain Scott Burgess rescued seven relatives after they swam 300metres past the flags onmorning, near Palm Beach on the in .
There have been 41 coastal drownings since December 2020, including seven people dying after trying to rescue others, which is two above average only a few months into the season.
Tallebudgera Club Captain Scott Burgess rescued the seven group relatives after they swum 300m past the flags on Australia Day morning, near Palm Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland
Hero lifeguard Scott Burgess revealed how to identify a rip but said the best way to avoid one is to stay between flags and only swim during the day.
A rip might have deeper and darker water with fewer breaking waves, there may be seaweed or debris floating out to sea or sandy-coloured water that extends beyond the surf zone, he said.
The club captain had to rescue a whole family of adults from a dangerous rip on Australia Day morning, including one who received CPR, after they were spotted by chance by another lifeguard.
Viewed from above, you can see sand from the shallows being taken out with the current as it pushes water back to the deeper ocean water
From the sand, a rip will not have as many incoming breaking waves because the water is going out towards the ocean, not breaking onto the shore
He had already saved eight people when he got a call from overwhelmed lifeguards at around 11.20am that morning.
When Mr Burgess approached the group, he saw four relatives desperately clinging to a rubber boat and put three on the back of his jet ski, while another submerged swimmer was saved by a different guard.
WHAT DOES A RIP LOOK LIKE?
- Deeper and/or darker water
- Fewer breaking waves
- Sandy-coloured water extending beyond the surf zone
- Debris or seaweed floating out to sea
- Significant water movement
One of the struggling family members was saved by CPR after going into ‘secondary drowning’, meaning water had gotten into their lungs and they could have died.
‘If they had swum in the flags, there would have been no rescue, there would have been no trauma, they would have had a fantastic day at the beach,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The biggest way people can identify where there is a rip or not is listen to surf lifesaver and surf life rescuers advice. Swim between the flags.’
Mr Burgess said if you are caught in a rip ‘don’t panic’ and swim parallel to the shoreline.
‘The rip’s gonna take you out [into the ocean] past the break,’ he said.
‘But instead of swimming against it, tiring yourself out, if you actually stay calm and relaxed and then swim along the coastline … you’ll actually be able to swim yourself out of the rip.’
Mr Burgess also said there were three factors contributing to the Australian’s drowning so far this swimming season.
‘If you’re drinking don’t go swimming, please don’t swim at night, swim between the flags,’ he warned.
‘All three of those contributing factors have been in play when we’ve lost people recently.’
The lifeguard rescued seven adults who were noticed by accident after swimming 300m north of the flags on Australia Day morning near Palm Beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Pictured: Duty Officer and Tallebudgera SLSC Club Captain Scott Burgess, IronMen Matt Bevilacqua, TJ Hendy and Finn Askew
There have been 41 coastal drownings since December 2020, with seven people dying after trying to rescue others, which is two people above average despite five months left of reporting season. Pictured: Hero lifeguard Scott Burgess with a fellow lifesaver
Surf lifesaver Scott Burgess (pictured) who helped save the lives of seven people in one family including one who nearly died, revealed the trick to escaping a rip as Australia faces a horror drowning season
There has also been above average deaths of bystanders who have tried to rescue others, lifesavers have warned.
Patrol captain and iron man TJ Hendy said rescuers should bring a flotation device into the water with them to keep them and the other person safe, and for both people to hold on to it until they receive further assistance.
‘This could be anything from a surfboard, boogie board, an esky or esky lid … [it] could mean the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones.’
WAYS TO ESCAPE A RIP
- Stay calm and float to conserve your energy.
- Raise your arm and attract attention from lifeguards or lifesavers.
- Swim parallel to the beach, towards the breaking waves.
- Let the rip take you out to a sandbar or break, where you can swim back in.
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