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Abstract

Rip currents are the primary mechanism on many of the world’s beaches associated with rescues and drownings and have long been the focus of beachgoer education and awareness strategies. Traditional approaches to mitigating the rip current hazard typically provide information on escape procedures for beachgoers caught in a rip current. Several of these approaches are now being challenged by new scientific findings leading to uncertainty and debate amongst scientists and beach safety practitioners. This paper suggests that future research efforts on mitigating the rip current hazard should focus on quantifying the physical and behavioral responses of beachgoers who have been caught in rip currents. Descriptions of new approaches adopted recently in Australia by a joint collaboration between the University of New South Wales and Surf Life Saving Australia are presented.

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