SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Fire Department is reminding beach goers that rip currents along the coastline of California are a safety hazard. The National Park service, U.S. Coast Guard, National Weather Service, San Francisco Police Department Marine Unit, and SFFD partnered to offer safety tips to residents of California.
There have been several close calls of drownings due to rip currents in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area this year, according to the SFFD. Visitors who want to swim are encouraged to go to Stinson Beach where GGNRA provides Ocean Rescue staff who patrol the beach.
Swimming and wading in non-life guarded areas is discouraged. The SFFD provides seven tips to stay safe at the beach including:
- Avoid swimming at Ocean Beach due to dangerous rip currents. Avoid wading in water as people have been swept out to sea in three feet of water.
- If trapped in a rip current, remain calm, swim parallel to the shore, and swim back towards the beach.
- Stinson Beach is safe with lifeguards.
- Keep pets on a lease and do not swim after them if swept into the sea. Most dogs will get out of the water.
- Stay off rocks in and around the shore.
- Ensure safety gear is working properly and there is a life jacket for every person while boating. Carry a VHF radio, know the waters and weather, and file a float plan with a friend.
- Be educated on rip currents, local demographics, and sneaker waves.
The top 10 tips from park rangers when preparing to go to the beach include making safety the number one priority, be patient and flexible, if you see something say something, stay on trails and shores, avoid swimming at Ocean Beach due to rip currents, take safe selfies and watch your back, be an early or late bird, read warning signs at beach entrances, appreciate the urban landscape, and recreate responsibly.
If or when 911 is called in the event of a drowning emergency, it is important to call knowing the exact location and keep eyes on the victim, according to the Department of Emergency Management. Throwing a floating object towards the victim while staying on the beach and following all dispatcher instructions is advised.