Venus bay is classified as a Dissipative beach. Due to its ocean frontage there is no protection from high energy swell - causing typically large surf. For this reason conditions at the beach are constantly changing. There are usually between 1-3 sand bars with deep channels in-between. There is a consistent strong current acting along the beach though-out and the direction of the current will change periodically. Rips are usually located around 400m apart and will vary in strength.
Types of waves
There are two main types of waves that can be found at Venus Bay - Spilling and Plunging Waves (also known as Dumpers.) Below is a description of these waves and the dangers that they can present.
Spilling waves occur when the top of the wave tumbles down the face. These waves are ideal for swimming, although they still can have a large force behind them.
Plunging Waves “Dumpers”
Plunging waves break with a large amount of force and can “toss around” those who try to catch them, causing disorientation while under the water. These waves will become more dangerous in low tide periods as the shallower water offers less protection to swimmers possibly ramming them into the sand.
What is a Rip?
A Rip current is a body of water that is flowing out to sea and is the major cause of swimmer difficulties. As the surf pushes water towards the raised beach the excess water within the surf zone tries to escape back to the ocean in order to level out. Rips will continue to act until they are past the surf break. This can force swimmers into surf that is beyond them or pull them to a point where they are unable to swim back to shore.
How to Identify a Rip
There are several tell tale signs of a rip, below is a list of things to look out.
- Less rough then surrounding water (it is quite common that unexperienced swimmers will unwittingly choose to swim in a rip as the surf will be smaller than the surrounding water.)
- Discoloured fast moving water due to sand which has been stirred off the bottom
- Foam on the surface extending beyond the break
- Debris floating seaward
If you are caught in a Rip
The most important step when managing a rip is to remain calm and never swim against the current. Instead swim parallel to the beach if you are able. You will then be able to catch a wave or swim back to shore. If you are experiencing difficulty - raise one arm in the air and one of our life savers will be there to help you promptly.