Ask the Consul
Safety in the Seas
January 7, 2008
The Dominican Republic is a country of lovely resorts and picturesque beaches that welcomes thousands of visitors every year. “Ask the Consul” would like to share some thoughts of interest to both U.S. citizens and our Dominican friends on intelligent ways to enjoy these beaches.
Like many coastal areas, some Dominican beaches have dangerous rip currents. Many lack lifeguards and warnings of dangerous conditions. Before swimming, consult with any hotel staff or tour guide as to water conditions. Remember that even the strongest swimmers find themselves in danger when caught in a rip current that draws the swimmer away from shore. Use the “buddy system” and, in the event of an emergency, stay calm.
According to the U.S. National Weather Service, if caught in a rip current:
Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly; never fight against the current.
Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle--away from the current--towards shore.
If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.
The difference between a great holiday by the seashore and tragedy is often simple carelessness or lack of preparation. Patrons at the “all-inclusive” resorts in particular should avoid swimming after consuming alcohol and eating. To avoid problems, the wise traveler never leaps before looking and, should the waves be too high and currents too strong, always remembers that a good swim and great tan can just as easily be found poolside.