'Dr Rip' Tathra visit this Sunday

DON’T panic.

That will be one of the key messages at a rip safety demonstration hosted by the Tathra Surf Lifesaving Club this Sunday.

The event will be held at the club from 3-4.30pm and is free for anyone interested in what a rip is and how to stay safe while swimming.

Tathra SLSC vice-captain Veronica O’Leary said renowned rip scientist Rob Brander – also known as “Dr Rip” - from the University of NSW will be leading the demonstrations.

Dr Brander has been doing research into rips for more than 25 years and is well known for his habit of pouring purple dye into rip currents to demonstrate their dynamics.

Ms O’Leary said if conditions are suitable, Dr Brander will likely use his dye on Sunday, but not before she and another Tathra surf lifesaver take the plunge and deliberately enter a rip.

“We’re going to jump into the rip to show people what someone in a rip looks like,” Ms O’Leary said.

“All being well we will bob along and pop out the back.

“I’ve never been in a rip before, but it’s important for me as a lifesaver to know and be able to talk to people about what to expect.”

The key message here is not to panic she said.

“You can help yourself by not panicking and knowing they don’t take you out too far.

“Panic takes away your ability to deal with a rip. Just flow along and go with it - there is always someone to get you from out the back.”

To make sure there is someone on hand to help, always be sure to swim between the flags on patrolled beaches.

“All lifeguards, we know our own beach,” she said.

“Conditions change throughout patrols and we set the flags up and adjust them during the day accordingly.”

Sunday’s information session and demonstrations are all geared towards keeping all beachgoers safe.

Ms O’Leary said it was particularly timely given the number of holidaymakers in Tathra, but learning about rips is just as important for local families and children.

The free event starts at 3pm on Sunday at the Tathra SLSC.

A fundraiser barbecue will be put on by club members for those in need of some afternoon sustenance.

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