This month, a fourteen-year-old girl on Ameland and a fifteen-year-old boy in Monster were killed by a sea current while swimming. How do you prevent yourself from getting into a current and what can you do best when you are in it?
Before you go into the sea, it is good to see which beach flags are hanging. They show whether you can swim safely. In any case, the coastguard recommends that you do not go swimming if you are not used to it, not only go into the sea and not go further into the sea than where you can stand.
This means the flags on the beach
- Yellow: it is dangerous to swim, but you can go into the sea.
- Red: it is forbidden to swim.
- Orange windsock: you are allowed to swim, but without floating objects such as air mattresses, floats and rubber boats.
- Yellow-Red Flags: Between these flags, the Coast Guard supervises and is safe for swimming.
There are different types of currents at sea you can get into. Especially mice are dangerous. These are openings between sandbanks between which the seawater flows back into the sea with great force at low tide.
The current of a mouse is so strong that it is impossible to swim against it. If you end up in a mouse, it is important not to panic and let yourself be carried away by the current. Deeper in the sea, the current becomes less strong and you can swim diagonally to the side.
A mouse can be tens of meters wide and appears to be a smooth stretch of sea with little foam from crashing waves.
The wind leads to a strong upstream
The wind can also create a treacherous current at sea. Wind from the sea creates an upstream to the land, but there is still an undercurrent to the sea. If you end up in that undercurrent, you can try to push yourself against the bottom. This will bring you back into the upstream that can bring you ashore.
A northeast or southwest wind is proportional to the beach, making it difficult to swim straight to the shore. The Coast Guard then recommends swimming diagonally to land and not trying to get out of the sea at the same spot you went in.
In case of wind from land, the coastguard recommends not to go far into the sea anyway, because swimming back is more difficult than swimming in the sea.
What should you do if you see a drowning person?
When seeing a drowning person, the Reddingsbrigade advises the Netherlands to call 112 first and only then consider entering the water. It is only advisable to enter the water if there is no other option and you are fit enough.
Make sure that someone on land has seen you and knows that you are in the middle of a rescue. This way you prevent nobody from helping you if you and the drowning person cannot get out of the water.