Red alert on the Atlantic coast. The prefecture of the South-West defense and security zone has placed the days of Sunday 3 and Monday 4 September at maximum risk for the currents of bays in the departments of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Gironde and Charente-Maritime.
“The beaches of Nouvelle-Aquitaine are marked by sea currents which can be dangerous. Every year swimmers are swept away and drown. Today, these currents are particularly strong and could easily drag you out to sea, ”she warned in a press release, quoted by South West.
🔴 Alert: Baïnes risk
⚠️ Saturday September 2 and Sunday September 3, 2023, the beaches of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques are affected by dangerous sea currents, such as “baïnes”.
The Prefect calls for the greatest caution: do not go far offshore, stay in a supervised area. pic.twitter.com/tfAxmUXu47
– Prefect of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (@Prefet64) September 2, 2023
She reminds that swimmers must stay “between the flags of the supervised posts”. The prefecture gives some additional advice on his website : she therefore recommends watching your children at all times and staying with them when they are in the water, not swimming when you are not feeling well, or telling a loved one before going to the water.
600 drownings in France this summer
Several cases of drowning due to baïnes were recorded this summer on the beaches of the Atlantic coast. A mother had notably died in August on a beach in Lacanau (Gironde), after having tried to save her children, carried away by a baïne. A 55-year-old man drowned the same day in Soulac-sur-Mer after being trapped in a current.
Just under 600 drownings, including nearly a third fatal, have been recorded since the beginning of June by Public Health France, in a report published in mid-August. With 92 cases, New Aquitaine was the second most affected region after Occitania (134).
When one is caught in a baïne, the National Sea Rescue Society (SNSM) points out that it is important not to try to swim against the current. Rather than going against the current, it is better to swim parallel to the beach and then reach the coast when you are in waters with less current, or with waves, to come back to dry land.