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Old 29th September 2008, 14:00   #1
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Default Request: Do not risk your lives at dangerous beaches

Yesterday I attended a funeral of a 24 yr old acquaintance and while I was attending the funeral, I kept thinking about how so many people make the same mistakes because of the typical attitude of 'This cannot happen to me'.

He had gone to Ganpatipule and made the grave mistake of entering the waters of a very dangerous beach despite the grave warnings that were put up on the entire beach. Physically he is a huge person and his height and weight is way above average. He is also an expert swimmer. He entered the waters with another friend who is also a swimmer and had only ventured to tummy deep waters when he was sucked in all of a sudden by some under currents/eddy/sandpit. According to the person who was with him in the waters he was just sucked in and did not even had a chance to struggle for his life. One moment he was talking to him and as soon as they turned around to go out of the waters because of the strong under currents, all of a sudden he heard a splash and he turned around to see that the his friend had vanished. No sign of struggle.

The local administrations have put up warning in form of the list of names of people who have died by drowning at that spot along with the date of the incident and the place they belonged to. It is a practice of the locals there to warn the unassuming lone soul who wants to go into those waters by asking the person to write their name on the list so that they dont have to waste any paint later on!

Guys, please do not for any reason whatsoever, venture into beaches which are unsafe. Please do not ignore warnings put up by local administrations whether it is roads/beaches/hill stations. One small moment of overconfidence can ruin so many lives around them.

May his soul rest in peace.
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Old 29th September 2008, 14:18   #2
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this is really sad. I remember when we used to visit Marve beach (i wonder if thats how its spelt) in the late 80's there used to be a sign board on the highway saying " X number of died as of today"
Scary - when you think about it.
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Old 29th September 2008, 14:23   #3
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I really stick to this rule of mine. I have tried and not succeeded in getting my friends not to enter water at places of visit. You never know how the water behaves and before you realise its too late.
I remember abbey falls in madikeri where each year about 10-20 ppl loose their lives but still people do venture to the water. If you get things right you get a memorable snap else your dead!!
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Old 29th September 2008, 14:24   #4
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Nice of you to share this Kalpesh. Very true, we take many things for granted. Some of these signs actually mean something & not to be taken lightly, even the road signs. Better to be safe than to put others & yourself into trouble & regret later.
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Old 29th September 2008, 14:27   #5
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MY Sister in Law lost a lot of classmates to a Goan beach in the 90's.
She still shudders to think about this.

A clam beach almost wiped out an entire class from Trichy.
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Old 29th September 2008, 14:37   #6
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Never thought that this could happen to an expert swimmer too. Iam always under the impression that I could manage to swim out from most circumstances, but this has come as a useful warning for me. A BIG NO NO from now on for beach swimming
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Old 29th September 2008, 15:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
Never thought that this could happen to an expert swimmer too. Iam always under the impression that I could manage to swim out from most circumstances, but this has come as a useful warning for me. A BIG NO NO from now on for beach swimming
The issue is with beaches which are known as dangerous and the ones which are not inhabited and hence no one knows how the currents and the sand base are. Even is someone is an excellent swimmer, there are some spots where the undercurrents are extremely strong and may pull you inside. There are beaches which are notorious for its under water eddies too.

There are quite a lot of very safe beaches in Goa and other tourist places, but these too are to be ventured only up to a safe distance. Going in sea waters is an exhilarating experience and many people (including me) just love it. The idea is to do it in moderation, under a watchful eye and only at beaches having very safe waters. Otherwise it is too big a risk to take. In some ways it is similar to driving. If you go overboard, the risks increase multifold as despite you being in control of your car, you do not control the surroundings. Practice moderation, respect nature's force and know your own limits.

Last edited by kalpeshc : 29th September 2008 at 15:22.
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Old 29th September 2008, 15:23   #8
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Oh this brings back some real sad memories.

I come from Goa and having stayed very close to the beach and a river, we are very good swimmers. Never took part in swimming competitions, swimming is more a part of life. We are good enough to save ourselves and save another human being if he/she is in trouble, folks staying around the beach (mostly fisherman) taught us the tricks of swimming in a sea and how to rescue and understand the currents.

Knowing this well has made us much better swimmers then the swmming pool experts, we may not have the speed and the direction to swim but we understand the sea and what it holds within. Especially when is a good time to swim and when it is fatal to even step into it.

For many years we hear people dying on our coasts - mostly due to this lack of knowledge and safe in the fact that i know to swim well in a swimming pool and i can do it here too. Its way different and difficult to swim in the sea and i am talking close to the shoreline, where currents and the weather can make a huge difference and not deep sea.

One paricular incident etched permamnently in my mind is a group of college students who had come down to Goa for a trip, they were from Chandigarh. They were about 50-60 odd with around a dozen teachers along with them. It was late June, with monsoons well and truly in full force . This was on Miramar beach. They were staying in the Government resort right off this beach. since we were studying in the college very close by, we used to play a round of beach football(lot of Indian League teams practise here) early in the morning before going to class. We saw a stream of students moving towards the beach that morning, the only shack on that beach had his owner shout at them and asked them to not venture in the sea at any cost. He motioned to us to go and speak to the teachers and convey to them that the students were going towards the beach. We ran towards the group and asked them who was incharge no one seemed to know so we got into the resort and asked the watchman there to alert the folks inside. We got back to our game after that.

The shack owner was still watching the crowd from a distance and had a instinct that something was waiting to happen. Just then it started raining and we ran towards the shack along with the shack owner, we all were watching the group now go bersek as they had the rains to enjoy too, we were laughing watching them act like small kids. Then one by one they started entering the water, the shack owner shouted out again and asked them not to, no one could hear him over the rain, wind and the distance, so we all joined him(we were about 7 guys). No one heeded our warning as they were shouting and splashing around and could not hear us or were not bothered. Just then we hear a shrill cry of a girl and instantly realise there is trouble, we run like crazy towards the crowd, not very easy in sand. We all are very good swimmers and know this beach like the back of our hands. When we get to the crowd we see one lone girl about 100 meters from the beach getting pulled in. She knew to swim but could not swim against the current. She kept splashing. We started taking off our shoes to jump in to save her, the shack owner stoped us and said - we better let one die instead of more. We knew right then that we couldnt do anything. We just watched her struggle and get pulled away every second. Al l the students started crying when they realised we were not going to do anything, all of them begged and cried but more then them we wanted to jump in and get the girl back. we just stood there watching - witnessing the most horrific sight in my life. Someone had called the fire brigade by then and they reached within 15 mins, they took the inflatable boat to try and find her but there were no signs by then, the sea had swallowed another.

The body was found the next day in Dona Paula washed ashore.

We have seen and heard numerous tourists meeting such a death on our beaches and every year the scene is repeated. Out the many that die a lot more have been saved mostly by the localites. I dont understand why people venture out - maybe it is because they see it in movies and baywatch.

We need to understand that swimming in a pool is way different from swimming in a sea or a river or any water body you dont have knowledge about.

Similiar incidents happen at the sangama close to bangalore.

There is absolutely nothing you can do once you get stuck in the current, even if your surname is Phelps.

Last edited by Spitfire : 29th September 2008 at 15:25.
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Old 29th September 2008, 15:35   #9
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Tell me something. I had heard a marathi funda around this - that the beaches have a strong current pulling one out to sea - BUT the only way to save oneself, is to actually swim out towards the sea and turn towards the other safer part of the beach.

The logic I was given to understand is that the current at many beaches pulls out to sea, and pushes towards beach in other sections - its important to respect the current to have any chance of survival.

a. How correct is this funda?
b. Should one be caught - how must one realize what to do/which direction to swim towards.

/can barely swim to save my life but better to be aware than just struggle.
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Old 29th September 2008, 15:44   #10
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In certain cases, like this one, no funda works. "It will not happen to me" is a very common assumption that most of us make. Ask any rash taxi or bus driver, he thinks he will not have an accident ever. I tell them that those who get the accidents also think like that. But anyway ....... RIP
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Old 29th September 2008, 15:57   #11
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First thing to remember dont panic.

Once you know your splashing and swimming is not going to help try and make out how strong the current is and what direction it is taking you too, stay afloat. Remember the current is not strong throughout, its intensity will taper out towards the edges, or conversely it will pull you in the stronger zone. Ever seen a paper boat moving faster in the centre of a stream then at the edges?

When we say current it varies in speed, flow and direction.

Remember the current is strongest on the surface and in the centre and becomes lesser as you go deeper and towards the banks, one of the tricks is to dive deep and feel the current going weaker and swim towards the bank - this needs practice and a good understanding of the current - it mostly is a reflex for folks like us who understand it, but would be very difficult for a new swimmer. This is in connection to rivers mostly but is true for a sea too.

Coming to the Marathi saying yes its true but partly, how deep will you go in the sea with the current? Remember the current may not be an horizontal current it may be like a wheel going round (no not a whirlpool) but perpendicular to the surface, these type of the currents are the ones that are most dangerous, these mostly come about due to the troughs on the sea floor. Not much you can do but try and get out of it as soon as possible. Point to remember is its not strong for too long and tapers off as the wave goes more back into the sea. You need to be able to stay alive not panic, primarily try get back to the surface as soon as possible or let the current die out before making the bid towards the surfcae. If you are stuck in a real bad one then probably you are done for, what might have happend to the thread starters friend.

But really there is no guide book, remember if you do get stuck try and stay afloat as much as possible someone will come to help you but you need to give that person the time.

Many die due to shock instead of the actually drowning.

Last edited by Spitfire : 29th September 2008 at 16:01.
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Old 29th September 2008, 16:02   #12
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To add just one more sentence to what Spitfire said - "if all this fails you will die".
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Old 29th September 2008, 16:06   #13
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I lived in a coastal city for a decade and often when out at the beach on a picnic we went for a swim. It didn't take long to understand some basic rules

Certain times of the year the sea gets very rough and its inadvisable to swim

Swimming in sea is rather different as compared to the pool as you have to contend with currents. While you have better bouyancy unless you are a seasoned swimmer you simply run out of stamina in no time when the water pulls you out.

When in trouble we tend to panic and that does more harm in wasting your energy.

Try not to venture in unless you have fishermen close by. Unfortunately we don't have adequate lifeguard support on public beaches so generally here in India its best not to venture in too much.

Apparently the nature of the sea bed close to shore in most coastal parts of India is such that you encounter sudden drops very close to land. The currents are generally very strong and even the best of swimmers would struggle.

Its better to be safe than sorry. Never underestimate the power of nature

I think the Goan government in view of the tourist inflow must setup a jet ski patrol with radio access so that the lifeguard can move in quickly. I'd think a dozen jet skiis can man a couple of kms of beach very effectively. With all that revenue coming in Goa should invest in making their beaches safer

They should have adequate warning signs and a flag system warning the state of the sea.

I hope they already have a CPR trained lifeguard support system in place. Much of this can be run on volunteer basis too should someone take up the cause of bringing about adequate protection

Last edited by DKG : 29th September 2008 at 16:17.
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Old 29th September 2008, 16:06   #14
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WARNING:

Please do not consider advices given in thread about trying to survive in sea currents as something that backs you up and makes you a better survivor. Spitfire is someone who has grown up surrounded by beaches and is giving this advice only as knowledge for extreme unavoidable situations. And this too will just give you 5% chance of survival if you are stuck in some currents. As he said in his previous post,

Quote:
We need to understand that swimming in a pool is way different from swimming in a sea or a river or any water body you dont have knowledge about.

There is absolutely nothing you can do once you get stuck in the current, even if your surname is Phelps.
The only way is to AVOID going in the sea at such dangerous/unknown beaches/river/waterfalls, etc (all water bodies). I am sorry if i sound very paranoid but that may be just the after effects of seeing the condition of the deceased parents and brother yesterday. The few minutes of fun you may get is just not worth it guys

Last edited by kalpeshc : 29th September 2008 at 16:09.
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Old 29th September 2008, 16:15   #15
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Yes guys please dont take it as tips.

For all the swimming i know, i have never ventured in any rivers around Bangalore, even though i have gone on numerous trips to the Fishing camp and other places around the rivers that flow through. But then i think my swimming skills are what makes me more mature to understand and respect the forces of nature.

Also remember, even though there may be a fisherman or a coast guard around - he is not god. He will try his best but there is a limit to everything. I have seen coast guards and fisherman give up after a point of time. How much ever he/she may want to save you - if it is a no win situation they will let go. We are not yet developed enough to have fast motor boats and helicopters a call away to carry out such rescue missions.

Last edited by Spitfire : 29th September 2008 at 16:18.
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