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Common on beaches with high surf, rip-tides are dangerous ocean conveyor belts that funnel the water being smashed against the coast back to sea. Surfers and windsurfers actually find them desirable, as they pull you effortlessly out to the big waves, but they can pose a life-threatening problem for less experienced swimmers; indeed, at Playa Grande, a couple of people die each year in the tides. If you’re not a strong swimmer, it’s best to keep off beaches with high, crashing surf altogether. You can sometimes – but not always – identify rip-tides by sight as ribbons of sea that don’t have any large waves travelling across their surface. At times they’ll also have a different colour from the rest of the water. If you’re caught in a rip-tide, do not attempt to swim against the powerful current. Instead, swim to the right or the left – and not directly back to the shore – until you are out of its grip.

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