#1 - RIPTIDES are a SERIOUS ISSUE
THROUGHOUT Costa Rica!!!!!
#2 - VERY FEW beaches in Costa Rica have Lifeguards and I'd question the level of training they get compared to lifeguards say - in California.
Surf•waves in Costa Rica are potentially DANGEROUS - ESPECIALLY the Pacific Ocean (and somewhat on the Caribbean side) - as MY observation is the ocean is a mighty angry broad - hence there are LOTS of areas on the coasts of Costa Rica where RipTides are an issue.
Heck, I got caught in one while playing in the waves in Manuel Antonio my first trip to Costa Rica and some miraculous angel surfer dudes appeared out of nowhere and “saved” me!!
NOTE that Riptides are NOT exclusive to areas with bigger surf!!!!
Don't believe me, read these articles
"Something Everyone Needs to Know About Rip Currents"
I'm dedicating this article in the memory of Jasmine - a sweet 2 year old Tica (with Canadian mom) - friends with my friend Theresa - who tragically lost her little life January 26, 2015 - from being swept away from a RipTide in an area in Santa Teresa that was pretty calm (see the picture below that was taken just hours before she & her grand aunt Andree Hamel of Montreal lost their lives)
The ocean can be VERY deceiving!!! This picture was taken just a few hours before taking the lives of Jasmine & Andree.
It was calm like this when I got caught in a RipTide at Manuel Antonio Beach (luckily some angels appeared to save me).
IDEA to any LIFEGUARDS coming to visit Costa Rica!!
Why not get some Lifeguard friends together (or even just yourself) along with someone to translate in Spanish -
Gather some old equipment (equipment is RARE in Costa Rica) to DONATE -
and come VOLUNTEER your time to help train these people better - or even offer to help set up a Volunteer Lifeguard Team.
Heck - do a "Sister-City" type swap situation - where y'all basically agree to "adopt" a team and throughout the year you collect things to bring•gift to the less fortunate locals [as well as things for your trade - everything from beach related clothes/bathing suits, games/toys like frisbees, sunblocks
[heck - maybe you can bring Surfboard donations with you - leave the board you've brought - and help teach local kids how to surf - you might have to start with teaching them how to swim but maybe the hotel where you're staying at will let you do classes in their pool. It could be positive PR for them as well!])
THEN you might be able to write your trip off your taxes!!
A POSSIBLE SOLUTION THAT CAN HELP THIS SERIOUS PROBLEM OF PEOPLE DROWNING FROM RIPTIDES IN COSTA RICA
Training is important but MY observation is it's RARE to find lifeguards on the beaches in Costa Rica.
What is NEEDED #1 are LOTS MORE SIGNS - IN English & Spanish (at least) telling PEOPLE WHAT to do in a Rip Tide!!! & a few at EVERY entrance•walkway onto EVERY beach in CR!!!
And make them in Fiberglass or something less desirable to steel to make $$ from.
GREAT Description of a Rip Tide:
Here is a GREAT VIDEO on what to do:
(I saw this at Top10CostaRica.com/10-top-beaches/costa-rica-rip-tides
A RipTide is a flattening of the surface that happens when the water enters a depression in the ocean floor and rushes out to sea.
Look for a channel of churning or choppy water or an area with a recognizable difference in water color (often it's a brownish-colored water on the surface which is caused by swept-up sand and debris).
Pay attention to any lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward or any breaks in incoming wave patterns.
ceoe.udel.edu/ripcurrents/characteristics/index.html - this site is GREAT!!
WHAT TO DO IF CAUGHT IN A RIPTIDE
In a nutshell (but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read
BrightHubEngineering.com/naval-architecture/34498-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-rip-currents/#imgn_4 - (this is an EXCELLENT article!!)
for a more complete refresher course)
#1 - STAY CALM and do NOT PANIC!!!
As scary as it seems, #2 do NOT fight/resist it and do NOT try to swim back to shore!!!
Just tread water and let the riptide current take you FURTHER OUT to sea till you don't see the rip.
THEN swim to the SIDE - AROUND the rip -
since most rip tide currents are about on average 100 feet wide/in circumference.
Even if you learned before what to do in a RipTide and THINK you know it all - we ALL react differently and can forget things when in a panic/scary situation - so
do a refresher read on it before going to the ocean
as MANY people - even strong swimmers - die each MONTH around Costa Rica from Rips!!!
88 people died in water accidents in Costa Rica in 2012
(though 3 people are still unaccounted for as of January 2, '13)
NEVER NEVER NEVER SWIM ALONE!!!!!!!
Information on some of the BEST PLACES TO SURF in Costa Rica!
Tips to Enjoy Costa Rica's Beaches
(this is an "official" video yet it does NOT cover the warnings strong enough!!)
PLEASE "Share" this link with EVERYONE you know that going to the beach!!