In the peaceful and superbly beautiful town of Mahahual, the Caribbean Sea reminded travelers that it isn’t without danger and that even in its most calm destinations, conditions can change fast.
Two male tourists had to be rescued from the water after getting into life-threatening difficulty during what was meant to be a relaxing swim in the warm Caribbean.
Fishermen To The Rescue
The two travelers aren’t believed to have been very far out into the water when a strong undercurrent took hold and began to drag them away from the coastline.
In fact, witnesses believe the men were only 165 feet (50 meters) away from the beach when they realized the situation was quickly getting away from them, and at this point, they smartly began to call for help.
Thankfully, the two travelers didn’t have to wait long for help. A group of local fishermen quickly jumped into action, picked the distressed swimmers up using their small coastal fishing vessel, and then delivered them safely to a small dock on the coast.
From here, they were given a medical check-up by members of the Mexican Navy to ensure they hadn’t sustained any injuries, which thankfully they hadn’t.
What Went Wrong?
Although 165 feet doesn’t sound so dangerous, the travelers did the right thing after realizing they were caught in an undercurrent and were being rapidly dragged out into the open sea.
The sea is as predictable as the next number to come up on a roulette wheel. In other words, it doesn’t matter what a person thinks their luck is; they can quickly be betrayed by chance.
In this case, what seemed to be just slightly rougher conditions than normal brought with it a strong undercurrent hidden beneath the waves. It would have only looked like a mildly challenging swim for most bathers surveying the conditions.
These undercurrents are often logged by lifeguards and play a huge part in their choice of beach flag for the day, but by their nature, they are difficult to spot and can at times appear out of nowhere.
How To Enjoy The Sea Safely
The sea is a beautiful and relaxing place to spend a vacation, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. It doesn’t take much information to make a trip to the beach much safer.
The following isn’t everything there to know on water safety, but it’s a good start for every traveler:
How To Spot Undercurrents
Undercurrents are strong flows of water that can pull you away from the shore rapidly. They aren’t visible on the surface, but you can look for signs such as a gap in the waves, a change in water color, or surface debris (such as sargassum) moving in a different direction to the flow of water.
If you see any of these signs, avoid swimming in that area, as there’s a good chance an undercurrent has developed here!
How To Escape Undercurrents
If you get caught in an undercurrent, do not panic or try to swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current, then swim back to the beach.
If you cannot swim or are getting tired, float on your back and wave your arms for help. It’s important to keep your head above water and conserve energy without panicking.
How To Keep Children Safe
Children should always be supervised by an adult when they are near the water. Parents and guardians should seriously consider making them wear life jackets or flotation devices.
Furthermore, teach them the above information on how to spot and avoid undercurrents and what to do if they get caught in one. No child can be watched 100% of the time, and if they have the information themselves, it may just save their life.
The Importance Of Respecting The Beach Flag System
The beach flag system is a way of plainly showing the current safety conditions of the water. Each color gives specific information, such as green for safe, yellow for caution, red for danger, and black for closed.
Always check the flag before entering the water, and follow the instructions of the lifeguards. Do not swim in areas that are marked as unsafe or closed. No matter how confident a swimmer you are, the Mexican Caribbean has claimed lives in the past.
Remember to respect the water and its power.
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