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Last weekend, a man drowned after trying to help three children with Lifeguard Pretest. Presumably because he got into a treacherous current. We have beautiful sunny days ahead in the coming days. How can we safely take a refreshing dip in the sea?

According to Jeri Fredrik’s, lifeguard and founder of sea swimming school Abe, we can assess for ourselves whether the sea is safe and where it is best to swim. ‘It starts with making a risk analysis of the circumstances. It is not a grass field where you play football. The sea has a number of natural hazards.’

Dangerous Currents

According to Fredriks, you have a number of things to look out for before going into the sea. ‘Where do the waves break? In places where waves break, the sea flows towards the beach and its sandbanks. Where no waves break or are messy and where people think it is safe, those are the places where the water flows into the sea.’

Also check where the wind is coming from, because wind creates currents. If you have an offshore wind, where the wind comes from the land and is directed seaward, and you are floating on your air mattress, you can easily drift very far out to sea.

Also when the tide changes, from low tide to high tide or from high tide to low tide, dangerous currents can arise due to the rapid water displacement.


Fredriks gives the tip to choose a spot on the beach near waves and a sandbank. “Take two landmarks on the beach so that when you go into the water you know which two points to stay between and stay in that safe place.”

Going into the water alone is never a good idea. Even though nothing crazy happens because of the current, you can get cramps while swimming and there is no one to help you. Therefore, always go into the sea with someone or make sure someone is watching you.

‘Look at the flags’

Flags fluttering on the beach indicate whether the situation is safe for swimming at that moment. When a red-yellow flag is flying, you know that the rescue team is there. Doesn’t it flap? Then there is no lifeguard present and it is therefore better to be extra careful.

Then you also have the color system for the flags. The yellow flag means to be careful and it is dangerous to go swimming. The red flag stands for very dangerous and means that you are not allowed to go into the sea.

Mouse current in the sea

We read a lot in the news about the dangers of a rip current. A rip current is a deeper part between two sandbanks, where the water flows powerfully into the sea instead of towards the beach. Fredriks: ‘Where there are waves, water quickly moves to the shore. A mouse just moves quickly backwards.’

It is difficult to recognize a mouse, but there are points to watch out for. Fredriks: ‘You can recognize a ripple by the fact that the waves are messy or because there are no waves at all. It is deep and often dark in a murmur. Sometimes you see waste, twigs or foam flowing out and the water can be darker in those places.’

What should you do if you do end up in a rip current? Fredriks: ‘A rip current doesn’t pull you under water, but pushes you off the coast. The most important thing is that you stay calm and don’t try to swim against it. If you do this, you can get tired and that can cause problems.’

Fredriks gives the tip that when you feel the mule lose its strength, you can try to swim to the side towards a sandbank. ‘If this doesn’t work, try to stay afloat and let yourself be carried away behind the waves. There the mule decreases in strength.’

Call in the rescue brigade

According to Fredriks, if you’re in danger of not getting out and panicking, it’s best to try to get the attention from the side. Try to stay afloat and swing your arms towards the shore. Do you have contact? Keep an eye on them and wait for help.

You often read that someone tries to save others and ends up drowning themselves. ‘The first thing to do is make sure you get a professional service before you run into the water yourself,’ says Fredriks.


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