2009-09-25 / Letters

Invasion Of The Riptides!

Dear Editor,

Riptides, Riptides! The riptides have come and surrounded us! Does anyone wonder why these riptides are suddenly so prevalent? In history of water, I doubt anyone has noted so many riptides that even the weather readers have to mention them.

The fact is that there are no more "rips" now than there were in the past. The answer is semantics; simple vocabulary. Seriously, if someone is drowning, either from fatigue or being taken in an untoward direction, the name of the current doing it is very unimportant. But I am writing not to give a public safety lesson, but one in beach/surf vocabulary as expressed by several colleagues representing more than two centuries of lifesaving and surf watching.

After reading the articles in the papers and listening to the uninitiated, I tell you that most all fast-flowing

Letters water has a name and reason for its behavior. (I won't go through the list of terms I made after receiving a phone call about 2-3 weeks ago.) I will state that a riptide or current is fast flowing lane of ocean that runs counter to the prevailing one without apparent reason. It usually is about 4- 5 yards wide and about 18-20 yards long. It can go outward or parallel to the beach and be measured with dye. Some things close to it are the seapuss and the coffee pot. The former is shorter and narrowed and the latter is brown (bring up the bottom) and circular or oblong.

As David Siegel implied in his letter to the New York Times on August 19, most all of what we have is undertow, and to a lesser extent causing drownings, the sweep (east to west current). Water escaping through a hole in the sandbar or the late jetties (technically groins) is a run out. Like I said, it's all been around before. As for the ropes and barrels, I doubt that the City would use them again; too costly. They could be used to cordon off the areas near jetties, and more lifesaving, parallel to the beach in the Intel forming a swimming crib. Such was the case years ago; and it worked.

Lastly, we all know that DFDs are the likely folks to get in trouble in the water. Locals and regulars know the dangers. Kudos to Mr. Sherwood for warning off Representative Weiner from spending money to learn what we already know. It sounds nice to call for study, but we know nothing beneficial will come our way from our politicians.

DR. ERNEST HOROWITZ

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