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The Experiences of Weak and Non-Swimmers Caught in Rip Currents at Australian Beaches
University of New South Wales.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6802-0540
2015 (English)In: Australian Geographer, ISSN 0004-9182, E-ISSN 1465-3311, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 15-32Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

ABSTRACTBeach rip currents present a risk to weak and non-swimmers, whose limited open water swim competencies may render them incapable of swimming out of these common and strong offshore flows. Here, the aim has been to explore this group's vulnerability by identifying how the limits of their swimming competencies influence their abilities to successfully execute a rip current exit strategy. It provides empirical detail on their knowledge of rip currents, their behavioural responses when caught in the rip current, the advice they recalled and the educational messages they recommend to other swimmers. A secondary aim has been to begin a dialogue that recognises the capacity of the Australian beach cultures?as places of relaxation and natural beauty?to influence people's decisions to enter the water. This cultural contextualisation may help explain why some self-identified weak and non-swimmers still enter the water despite their limited competencies. Through a synthesis of survey and interview data, we argue that weak and non-swimmers need to take the threat of rip currents seriously. Pre-emptive safety advice should be sought, especially if people intend to swim regardless of their swimming ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2015. Vol. 46, no 1, p. 15-32
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161623DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2014.953735OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161623DiVA, id: diva2:1260426
Available from: 2018-11-02 Created: 2018-11-02 Last updated: 2018-11-02

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