One of the best things about coming to a Charleston beach house – either one of our Isle of Palms vacation rentals (or our beach rentals Charleston out on Folly) is, of course, the beach. Most of our SC vacation rentals are either oceanfront or a very short distance from the sand and surf. Spending a week or long weekend in a luxury house on Isle of Palms will pretty much guarantee several long stretches of good beach time.
An AP article a while back got my attention. It reported how over the July 4th holiday, four able-bodied people lost their lives on beaches in Brunswick County, NC.
The cause? Rip currents.
The story focused on a young judge and his wife and their two sons, who were enjoying the sunny weather after a spate of rainy days. Many folks swam in the water and frolicked. All of a sudden it was chaos, as numerous beachgoers got caught in a rip current. The couple entered the water to help others in distress. The husband, a strong swimmer, didn’t make it out alive.
What are rip currents? First of all, they are not rip tides or undertow, where you are pulled under the water. Rip currents are channels – mini-rivers if you will, of water that rushes from the shore back out into the ocean. The current of the water runs very fast, often much faster than even the best swimmer can manage to swim against. So instead of getting pulled under the water, you are carried out to sea. The most common reaction is to panic and try to swim against the current back to shore — and that often leads to disaster, as it did in Brunswick County.
Rip currents are most common where the sand and ocean floor are uneven, and around piers and jetties. They are caused by an extra amount of water coming onshore (through high winds or big waves). All that extra water has to go back into the ocean somehow, and it does so via rip currents. The ironic thing is they often appear from the surface as a calm section of ocean between sets of waves, thus attracting unsuspecting swimmers.
If you are coming to stay in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, or our luxury beach house rentals SC on Folly Beach, we want you to be safe. Coastal meteorologists and teachers are pretty good at educating locals (especially kids) about the dangers of rip currents. But if you are coming to a Charleston beach house from another part of the country, you may not know about rip currents and how to best handle them.
How to stay safe at your Charleston beach house…
The answer is counter-intuitive. Even though the water is pulling you out to sea, do not try to swim directly back to shore. Instead, swim parallel to the shore, in either direction, until you are out of the rip current – then swim back toward land. Above all, don’t panic. Stay calm, swim parallel, then back in and you’ll be fine.
One thing about Brunswick County – not a single one of its beaches has lifeguards. LGs obviously are trained to deal with rip currents and know what to do when they hit and could have prevented the tragedy that happened there on the Fourth.
A great plus if you are coming to one of our beach house rentals Charleston SC is that both the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach have sections that are under the watchful eye of professional lifeguards.
Another great help is warnings (or warning flags, as are used in some communities) about dangerous conditions. Here on the Isle of Palms, there is the town sign that is posted at the main intersection – to the left as you are coming off the Isle of Palms Connector. The Town is great about posting warnings in red letters if there are rip currents or other dangerous conditions present.
So when you are coming to a beach house Charleston, be informed and be careful. And remember to call EP when you’re looking for the very best in a Charleston beach house.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger