The recent drowning death of a Disney Wonder cruise passenger at Castaway Cay has brought to light the host of hazards that not only cruise passengers can face, but any beach-goer in general. The accident shows us that no matter how old you are or how skilled at swimming you may be, accidents can still happen. So, in keeping with our focus on ocean safety, our maritime lawyers here at LMAW would like to call attention to one of the most common dangers for beach-goers and the factor most often responsible for lifeguard-assisted rescues: rip currents.
Rip currents are narrow, localized, and very strong currents that form near beaches as breaking waves push water toward the shore. When the volume of water near the shore becomes too great, it needs a way back out to sea. Enter rip currents. The easiest way to explain a rip current is to think of it as a drain, removing excess water from the shore and leading it back out into the ocean.