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The Need to Understand Ocean Currents


Fall has arrived and in most states throughout the country, residents are beginning to feel a chill in the air. However, Florida is one of the few places where you can enjoy a beautiful beach throughout the year and Floridians take full advantage of this aspect of living in southeast America. And yet – because Floridians can enjoy the water year-round, they also face risks that other Americans would never have to think about outside of the warm summer months. One such risk is the danger associated with tidal currents.

Recently, a Lakeland mother of six who went to Pass-a-Grille died after being caught in a tidal current. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the woman responded, along with other adults, by rushing into the water after hearing some of the children with her, including her own and the two children of a neighbor, cry out after becoming caught in the current themselves. Firefighters were able to rescue her from the Gulf but she ultimately succumbed to her injuries although all of the children she died trying to save survived.

As much as Floridians love water sports, incidents like the one at Pass-a-Grille are a reminder that Mother Nature cannot be controlled. There are, unfortunately, many tragic stories where a person ventured into the ocean in an attempt to save someone else and instead became a drowning victim.

Understanding the environment is therefore important for every person who wants to take advantage of Florida’s beautiful weather.

What is a Tidal Current?

According to the National Ocean Service, tidal currents are generated, as the name suggests, by tides when the vertical motion of tides near the shoreline makes the water move horizontally, therefore creating currents. These currents are unique in that they are affected by the different phases of the moon and are strongest when the moon is in its “full moon” and “new moon” phases. Tidal currents both “ebb” and “flow” depending on whether they are moving toward shore or back toward the sea.

Are Tidal Currents Always Dangerous? No, but Rip Currents Almost Always Are

Tidal currents can present as slow-moving waves. Rip currents, on the other hand, are narrow channels of water that form when waves of different intensity levels break on the shoreline and, in an attempt to keep the water level even, pull the large amount of water brought to shore by the waves back toward the ocean. These pockets of fast-moving water can be challenging for even the most experienced swimmers. Experts suggest that instead of fighting against the water, swim parallel to shore if your ever find yourself caught in one.

What Should You Do if You Witness a Loved One Experiencing Trouble While Swimming?

Find a lifeguard – try to only swim at beaches that have lifeguards. The United States Lifesaving Association has determined that a person’s chance of drowning at a beach with a properly certified lifeguard is only 1 in 18 million.

Contact the authorities – especially if there is no lifeguard on duty, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible so that you can get help.

Attempt a rescue if necessary – even strong swimmers can lose a battle with the ocean. If you decide to attempt a rescue, proceed carefully and try to ensure that someone is watching from the shore.

Have You Been in an Accident Off-Shore? Contact an Experienced Attorney

Some accidents in the water are tragically unavoidable. However, many are totally preventable. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured in an off-shore incident at the fault of someone else, contact the experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys of The Pendas Law Firm today.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, Daytona, Jacksonville, and Bradenton areas.





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