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Media Advisory

Media briefing on rip currents at Ocean Beach

30 June 2003

ATTENTION: General Assignment

Contact: Julie Huang
(510) 642-6051 jch@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

Media briefing about the dangerous rip currents at San Francisco's Ocean Beach, which last week swept several people into the ocean. As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, rip currents pose a special hazard, as many people may be flocking to the beach.

The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that about 80 percent of lifeguard rescues at the country's surf beaches are people caught in rip currents.

11 a.m. Tuesday, July 1.

Great Highway parking lot at the foot of Lincoln Avenue, on the Ocean Beach side, San Francisco.

Francis Smith, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on the rip currents at Ocean Beach. Smith will demonstrate self-rescuing techniques in case one is caught in a rip current.

Smith has studied rip currents at Ocean Beach for the past six years, but has had experience with them since he was a teenage surfer in the 1970s and a San Francisco lifeguard in the 1980s. Smith holds this popular briefing every year to publicize the dangers of rip currents in the hopes of preventing drownings.