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Old 26-07-2016, 04:20   #1
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Safer - Beach or Boat?

Not that the odds are that great but just heard on the local news that 6 people have drown at the local beaches. That the rip current pulled them out or under.

My brother and I have a brotherly disagreement. I am saying it is probably safer swiming in the ocean from a boat than at the beach.

That swimming in the ocean from a boat that there is no rip current and shark attacts are probably about the same maybe even less.

I think I have the argument won except when he says 'what if the boat sinks'?

So - are you safer swiming at the beach or from a boat?

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Old 26-07-2016, 07:44   #2
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

I would guess the beach but I don't have any statistics. Swimming from the boat in almost any current can mean getting separated from it, with almost zero chance of getting back onboard. This is why when we swim from the boat we drop a safety line with a float, no one is allowed further down current than that line, no matter what.
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Old 26-07-2016, 08:46   #3
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Forgot to mention I do not get into the water without swim fins. This helps me get back to the boat. At the beach I do not use swim fins. But again 100% use from the boat.

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Old 26-07-2016, 08:49   #4
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Other than diving, I don't swim from a boat anymore, did it forever growing up fishing.
Then this movie Jaws came out, and that sort of did it for me when you can't see the bottom, I know silly right ?
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Old 26-07-2016, 08:51   #5
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Swimming is allways perfectly safe, dangerous is when you get too tired to swim anymore..
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Old 26-07-2016, 09:25   #6
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Sharks are hard to see from the top looking down and hard to see from the bottom looking up. That is until it is too late. I would prefer the music from Jaws starts playing to warn me to get the neck out if the water.

The water is cleaner from the boat since there is no sand mixed in like at the beach...I would be lying if I said I do not get the heebee jeebee's sometimes.

A64 - Jaws was one of the most frightful movies I have ever watched...even water skiing in fresh water lakes I would think pike or muskie would come up and bite me. I eventually got over it.



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Old 26-07-2016, 15:12   #7
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Good queston...

Having been raised at the beaches of southern California, and until recently living on Kauai island for several years, and sailing the caribbean , Australia and South Pacific, we are acquainted with all kinds of currents.

We are also PADI certified divers and we also snorkel a lot from our boats, and from beach entries. Same goes for SCUBA diving.

You both are probably correct in your thinking, but you have to have a whole lot of respect for shore entries and the ocean entries. Mother ocean is totally unforgiving, and does not love us.

1. Snorkeling from shore: We look at the ocean conditions, currents, wind, swells, other people snorkeling who are not finning and watch their drift or if they are laboring to swim into a current. We also heed any Strong Current Warnings that are posted.


2. If all those pass inspection from shore, we enter the water. Mask and snorkel in place, and carry our fins into about chest deep water. Looking down into the water we then put on our fins and slowly swim out a ways.

3. We then stop and float horizontally and do not fin. We can then look at the bottom and see if we are effected by the set and drift of the current.
If we are moving across the bottom too quickly.....we get out.


4. We also look up from our snorkeling and take bearings from the entry point. We do not want to get so enthralled with the snorkeling, that we wind up drifting too far off shore. Also, we stay clear of reef passes, where the water coming over the reef will run out of the pass back into the ocean. You are gone bye bye.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Boat entries: ( sailing vessels )

Usually snorkeling, or checking out the mooring, and the depth under our keel.

I swim a close 360 around the vessel, mask , snorkel and fins.


Also, as mentoned , we trail a fender tied on to a long line from the stern, down current.

When we enter the water, we check our set and drift. Usually, we can tell immediately if the current is too strong, and we just grab on to that
trailing line and pull ourselves easily to the swim step. Only one of us goes in, the other stands by at the stern of the boat and keeps a close watch. If the swimmer was swept away, the dink is ready to go to the rescue .


If at sea, we would not both go into the water too swim or cool down at the same time. Some currents are way to strong to swim against, or the
wind can blow the vessel away and you cannot get back to it.


Shore, beach entry, or entry from a boat ( usually anchored or moored ), we check the currents and conditions before entering.

Many of our drownings on Kauai, were people swimming alone, and caught in current, rip or long shore, and swept away. They tried to swim into the current, become exhausted, panic and drown.

Those are our thoughts.

The OP mentioned sharks

Sharks. We have snorkeled and dove with sharks in Tahiti, and in the Coral Sea. No problem.

However, a BVI Shark story. We all must remember the ocean is the sharks home, they are there.


Many years sailing and snorkeling the BVI we never saw a shark. However, at Norman Island, we had bbq'd steaks of the stern for dinner

the previous night. Two dear friends were sailing with us.

Well, it was time to drop off the next morning and sail back to Road Harbor. As I was getting ready to reave the bridle free of the mooring eye, I remembered that we had not emptied the ashes from the bbq.


Not wantng to get smothered and ashes all over the boat, we dumped the bbq coals and ashes off the swim step into the water.

Within a very few seconds, there were four reef sharks, tearing back and forth at great speed in a total frenzy. Their speed and agility were amazing. Point being, those those sharks could smell the blood in the bbq ashes, and figured it was meal time.


Therefore, we learned never to drop ashes from a bbq, with anyone in the water. And that means boats and people in the water next to us. Just passing that incident along as a point of interest and safety.
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Old 26-07-2016, 15:53   #8
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Snokeling story - I was much younger. In the keys in the evening looking down it was bright and lost track of time. Started to see crabs and lobster. Also noticed barracuda were a bit closer than usual. Looked up and it was just beyond dusk and kinda dark.
Interesting while snokeling it was bright...anyway made a bee line to the shore.





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Old 26-07-2016, 16:41   #9
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Well... sharks can potentially be anywhere in the ocean. Its rolling the dice about their attitude when you run into one (or a bunch of them) If you are in the middle of a school of the type fish the shark eats, he's likely to sample you too.

A local dentist was on vacation and while snorkling admiring tropical fish a shark did a bump and run and opened him up pretty good. Local dentist attacked by shark says he’s on the mend

Not clear if he dove from a boat or swam out from shore....

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Its hard to sink the beach... and often its easier to crawl up the sand than to climb into a boat.
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Old 26-07-2016, 16:52   #10
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

I'm looking for the video of the woman attacked by a shark, story is something like a research ship stops in open water for everyone to swim, and one got attacked.


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Old 26-07-2016, 18:18   #11
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Yikes...that shark bit the dentist on the face. Perfect shark bite imprint on his face and lips. That would ruin your day.

I think a key to avoid drowning is having dive/swim fins on. Also the key to getting back to the boat. My brother just conceded and agrees if I always wear swim fins it is probably safer swimming from the boat then swimming from the beach.









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Old 26-07-2016, 19:44   #12
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

The key to avoiding drowning is...
Don't swim alone no matter how good you think you are.

Local cop, member of dive-recovery and swift water rescue team and medal winning swimmer in high school fell off his bass boat, 20 ft from shore and wasn't seen again until his body floated a week later.
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Old 26-07-2016, 20:04   #13
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

Snorkeled a lot from boats, as far as getting bit I think it is safer than swimming with bait fish in the surf. Here in Florida we get a lot of surf shark attacks. As far as loosing track of time and looking up to see the boat a mile off, well, even with fins it can tire you out. Did a lot of taking bearing, swim on back, take bearing, swim on chest............. Always have a good set of fins.
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Old 26-07-2016, 20:23   #14
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

How could a good swimmer like that drown? Panics and starts flailing? Was alcohol/drugs involved? Was he wearing heavy clothing? It has to be something. I have heard of other people that could swim but still drown.

I was in trouble twice while over my head in water. Once at 12 years old on a hot spring day I jumped into a fast moving river to cool off. I immediately knew I was in trouble but lucky, did not panic too much that I could not swim with the current with a slight angle to the shore.

At 18 the same kind of thing happened in the ocean while swiming from the beach. Rip Current took me out but I did not panic and was able to swim down the beach angled toward shore. I do remember stopping and trying to touch bottom but could not so I continued swimming down the beach.

Oh...a third time when I broke thru ice on a pond. But I did not go under and scampered up and out like it was nothing. That could have been much worse if I could not get up and out so easily. I was 10.

Probably why I like to wear swim fins now or have a noodle or both.



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Old 26-07-2016, 21:54   #15
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Re: Safer - Beach or Boat?

The boat, obviously. Nevertheless, don't get off the boat to go into the jungle or into the water.

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