The objective of this research was to evaluate a campaign to improve beachgoer recognition of calm-looking rip currents, known to contribute to surf drowning. Posters, postcards, and brochures conveying the message "Don't get sucked in by the rip" were distributed in an intervention area. Beachgoers were interviewed in this and a similar control area one year before and immediately after the intervention (respective response rates: 69.9% and 82.3%), Consenting respondents were sent follow-up questionnaires after approximately 6 months and 55% responded. In the intervention area, 28.8% of post-intervention, and 57.2% of follow-up respondents, had seen our campaign. At post-intervention, intervention respondents demonstrated improvement (relative to baseline) in intentions to swim away from a calm-looking rip, ability and confidence in identifying a rip, intention never to swim at unpatrolled beaches, and responses to being caught in a rip, compared to the control respondents. Similar improvements were observed post-intervention for respondents in the intervention area who had seen our campaign (relative to those who had not), and at 6 month follow-up for intervention respondents (relative to control respondents). The relatively brief print-based campaign was effective in warning beachgoers about calm-looking rips.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.