Getting outside: a trip to the tides

By Leilah Ferguson

Many people enjoy going on spontaneous beach trips, but going without a plan might not be the best idea after all. According to Government Services, the beach you arrive at on a certain day will not be the same beach a few hours later due to a change of tides.

Photo by Alex Hays

Tides can impact how safe the beach is, and it can also determine the quality of one’s beach experience bases on the activity one prefers to do.  For example, if one would like to go on a walk out on the beach when the tide is out and they think that it’s safe to walk far out because the tide appears to be out, well that person would be wrong and they could be cut off by the tide. Just because the tide is out now does not mean that the tide will not come in quickly and trap someone. So, the safest bet is to always check the tides ahead of time to see how much time is needed before returning to shore otherwise someone might not make it back on time.

If someone wanted to visit the beach during high tide, it’s important to note irregularities in currents and water hazards. It’s also vital to recognize certain things in the water: one example being a riptide. Riptides are strong currents that form between two waves and can change every day depending on the tides. Riptides are usually a different color from the rest of the water. They can be filled with trapped debris, and they look like narrow gaps between waves.

The best way to escape a riptide is not to panic and try swimming parallel to the shore since riptides run perpendicular to the beach. People’s first instinct is to fight the current, but one’s best bet at surviving a riptide would be to yell for help from a lifeguard or someone on the beach. At beaches with a lifeguard present, riptides and other beach hazards are marked off and in the most dangerous cases beaches are closed.

Always stay on the lookout when at the beach for hazardous water conditions. If someone wanted to go to the beach just to hangout and not go swimming, surfing or fishing, then it wouldn’t matter when they go so long as they’re having fun. But, it’s still advisable to check your beaches’ conditions for safety.

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