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North Devon swimmers who've been caught in treacherous rip currents are being asked to take part in a survey.
The RNLI wants to gather as much data as possible on rips, which can quickly drag people out to sea. They are the major
cause of incidents that RNLI lifeguards respond to each year – last year, they accounted for 38% of all sea-based incidents. Recently 56 swimmers and surfers were rescued from the water at Croyde after being caught out by a sudden, strong rip current.
The charity, working with the University of Plymouth, has created an online survey, which asks information about swimming ability, knowledge and experience of being caught in rip currents – including where the experience took place, and how they
reacted and escaped the rip.
It's planning to develop models to predict when and where rip currents are likely to occur. The online survey will supplement this research to gain a better understanding of behaviour in rip incidents.
Adam Wooler, RNLI Head of Coastal Safety and Research, explains: ‘Rip currents are consistently one of the biggest causes of incidents that the RNLI’s lifeguards deal with each year, but very little is currently known about how people react when they become caught in one, which means it’s difficult to know how to educate people to avoid getting caught in one in the first
‘We’re inviting anyone who has ever experienced a rip current to help us out by taking
part in the survey at http:// www.rnli.org.uk/ripsurvey We hope the results will help us to develop a national public safety
information campaign and teach people about how to respond when caught in a
rip, to try and reduce the number of incidents.’