Public Understanding and Knowledge of Rip Currents and Beach Safety in the UK

Woodward, Eleanor, Beaumont, Emily ORCID: 0000-0002-7318-2373, Russell, Paul and MacLeod, Ross (2015) Public Understanding and Knowledge of Rip Currents and Beach Safety in the UK. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 9 (1). pp. 49-69. doi:10.25035/ijare.09.01.06

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Rip currents present a severe hazard for water users on beaches and account for the greatest cause of lifeguard rescues worldwide. The physical dynamics of rip currents are well studied, and more recently, the social and behavioural science research surrounding human interaction of rip currents has been expanding, providing a social perspective and feeding into public education strategies. The aim of this study was to assess levels of public understanding of rip currents and beach safety on UK beaches. A questionnaire was undertaken (N = 407) during the summer of 2012 on four beaches. Beach users had a poor knowledge of rip currents (n = 263), but those who have been caught in a rip before have a higher level of knowledge. Conversely, beach users had a good understanding of what the beach safety flags indicated (n = 314), and most people complied with this flag system (n = 339). In addition, those previously educated on rip currents had a higher knowledge, and lifeguards proved to be the most effective form of education. The study presents an insight into UK beach users’ knowledge of rip currents and provides more evidence with which to pilot a rip current education scheme within the UK.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agricultural and biological sciences; Drowning; Rip currents; Beach lifeguards; Beach safety education
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV191.2 Outdoor Life. Outdoor recreation.
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Kate Greenaway
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 11:45
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 11:57

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