Basil Razi (AWW)


  1. What are some of the visual signs that will indicate a rip is present?

Before you try to locate a rip it must be understood what a rip is. A rip current, rip tide or rip is a strong surface flow of water returning seaward from nearer the shore. Although rip currents would exist even without the tides, the tides can make the existing rip more dangerous, especially low tide. Rips can move to different locations on a beach break, up to tens of metres a day. They can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

        Some of the visual signs that will indicate a rip is present are:

  • Calm water caused by the channel of water flowing out
  • Colour of water may be different from the surrounding area, usually brown; this is because of the sand being pulled away from the beach
  • The water line is lower on the shore near a rip current
  • Water moving in swells toward the beach, pushes against the beach, and then goes back out. It then forms into dark, choppy rivers within the ocean, this is the fatal rip currents
  • This dark patch is wider at the beach that is the mouth of the rip current, and then it is straight out or at a slight angle into the ocean. The far end of the rip current usually forms a large roundish shape and is known as the head of the rip current
  • Look for debris r foam floating
  • NOTE: It is better to look for a rip, from a higher perspective

  1. What steps would you advise swimmers to take if they were caught in a rip?

Swimmers if they are ever caught in a rip, their first step should be to follow the three R’s: Relax—stay calm, and float with the current, swim across it not against, Raise—raise an arm to signal for help and Rescue—float and wait for help.

The general steps are:

  • Try to relax and just stay afloat – the water may pull you out into the ocean DON’T panic
  • Once you feel the force begin to lessen, swim either to your right or to your left, parallel to the shore. Rips are usually about 10 metres to 30 metres wide.
  • A strong swimmer can swim at 45o across the rip
  • Once out of the rip tide, try to swim back to shore normally, or signal for help

  1. The Term Surf Awareness requires the swimmer to be acknowledgeable in a number of areas. Give a brief outlines of safety considerations involved with the following:
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  • Safest waves on which to surf/swim in
  • In the right conditions they can form tubes
  • Found in most areas with relatively flat shorelines or sheltered areas
  • Most common type of shore-break


  • These never actually break as they approach the water’s edge because the water below them is very deep
  • Very dangerous to rock fishermen. They cannot be easily seen and can drag them into the sea
  • Around beach, they knock swimmers off their feet and carry them into deeper water
  • They tend to form on steep shorelines and in ...

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