Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose

Debra Rose

Surfers value rips. They can shoot you out to the line-up in a flash, and they are easy to avoid if you know where they are and how to navigate them. Chances are if you are surfing you are a strong swimmer, are in waves without a lifeguard, and know how to get out of trouble if you are held under or thrown over the falls when you wipe out. Many beachgoers and summer swimmers are casual with the sea and may not fully appreciate the power of the ocean when playing in waves.

We see lifeguards and their designated areas, the beaches a field of blankets, umbrellas, groups of families and friends of all ages soaking up the sun and finite days of summer. While lifeguards do the best they can, creating awareness and sharing knowledge about managing the water is critical. It can be THE difference between life and death.

Notice we are unphased by restaurants posting signs with instructions on how to save someone that is choking. Illuminated EXIT signs indoors, fire extinguisher placement and first aid kit availability are all considered standard, and likely born from something tragic or dangerous that warranted their now constant presence.

Montauk is a beach town and a surfing destination. It’s a hub of kayaking, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, foiling, swimming, boating, and playing in the sea. The Atlantic temperature here has been hovering around seventy degrees all summer and draws us in all year round. It is mandatory that we continue educate the public about Rip Currents and how to avoid them every chance we have.

This year several establishments have enthusiastically collaborated with East End Ocean Rescue (EEOR), contributing to the cause by posting colorful signs with a depiction of a Rip Current and how to escape when you are caught in one. EEOR is a non-profit dedicated to Ocean Safety, decreasing response time in an emergency, being preventive and saving lives when drowning.

The Surf Lodge spear-headed the mission by posting signs in the most popular areas of their venue; in the bar and by the bathrooms. The goal is recognition through repetition and exposure. Noting the signs, even subconsciously while standing around waiting for a drink or a stall may connect the graphic to the ones seen all over the beaches in Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton and along the East End.
So far, The Beach House, Crow’s Nest and 668 The Gig Shack are also on board to post signs in their establishments for the community. The signs are free and can be installed by the founder of East End Ocean Rescue, Jimmy Minardi to all businesses that would like to host a Rip Current Sign in a collective effort to keep the public safe.

Rip-currents are responsible for 100,000 rescues and hundreds of drownings annually. EEOR was the first organization to donate rip current signs on Eastern Long Island, as well as installing boxes of Rip Current information cards. About 300 cards a week are distributed all summer. Happy (and safe) Surfing!