Rip currents are known to be a global public health issue and have been extensively contributed to the coastguard rescues and drowning cases at recreational beaches. Most studies in Malaysia have focused on the physical control of rip currents, with little emphasis on social factors. This study aims to assess the public knowledge of rip currents and beach safety at Teluk Cempedak Recreational Beach (TCRB) in Pahang, Malaysia. A convenience sampling technique was used to conduct a cross-sectional study among 300 beachgoers in TCRB. All data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Bivariable and multivariable logistic analyses were computed to identify factors associated with satisfactory knowledge of rip current and beach safety. More than half of the respondents were females (51%) and residents of Kuantan (62%). Out of 300 respondents, 160 (53.3%) had a satisfactory knowledge of rip currents, while a higher number of respondents (n = 221, 73.7%) had an unsatisfactory knowledge of beach safety. Those aged 35 and up, females, and those who had never had difficulty with water activities at the beach were more likely to have satisfactory knowledge of rip currents. The only factor found to be significantly related to satisfactory beach safety knowledge was age (35 years old). In conclusion, the respondents were concerned about rip currents, but they had inadequate knowledge of beach safety. Therefore, the development of effective beach safety education programmes is needed in Malaysia.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Agita SS (2019) Keindahan Pantai Teluk Cempedak Sebagai Daya Tarikan Wisata di Malaysia. OSF Preprints 58dwk, Center for Open Science. https://ideas.repec.org/p/osf/osfxxx/58dwk.html
Ariffin EH, Sedrati M, Akhir MF, Norzilah MNM, Yaacob R, Husain ML (2019) Short-term observations of beach Morphodynamics during seasonal monsoons: two examples from Kuala Terengganu coast (Malaysia). J Coast Conserv 23(6):985–994
Arun Kumar SVV, Prasad KVSR (2014) Rip current-related fatalities in India: a new predictive risk scale for forecasting rip currents. Nat Hazards 70(1):313–335
Australia SLS (2017) National coastal safety report 2017. Surf Life Saving Australia, Sydney
Azhary WAHW, Awang NA, Hamid MRA (2016) The assesement of rip current at Kerachut beach using hydrodynamic modelling. IOP Conf Ser Mater Sci Eng 136:012087. https://doi.org/10.1088/1757-899X/136/1/012087
Ballantyne R, Carr N, Hughes K (2005) Between the flags: an assessment of domestic and international university students’ knowledge of beach safety in Australia. Tour Manage 26(4):617–622
Bhuiyan MAH, Siwar C, Ismail SM, Islam R, Ehsan D (2011) Potentials of Islamic tourism: a case study of Malaysia on east coast economic region. Australian J Basic Appl Sci 5(6):1333–1340
Brander RW, Bradstreet A, Sherker S, MacMahan J (2011) Responses of swimmers caught in rip currents: perspectives on mitigating the global rip current hazard. Int J Aquat Res Educ 5(4):11
Brander R, Dominey-Howes D, Champion C, Del Vecchio O, Brighton B (2013) Brief Communication: a new perspective on the Australian rip current hazard. Nat Hazard 13(6):1687–1690
Brannstrom C, Brown HL, Houser C, Trimble S, Santos A (2015) “You can’t see them from sitting here”: evaluating beach user understanding of a rip current warning sign. Appl Geogr 56:61–70
Brighton B, Sherker S, Brander R, Thompson M, Bradstreet A (2013) Rip current related drowning deaths and rescues in Australia 2004–2011. Nat Hazard 13(4):1069–1075
Caldwell N, Houser C, Meyer-Arendt K (2013) Ability of beach users to identify rip currents at Pensacola Beach Florida. Nat Hazards 68(2):1041–1056
Carey W, Rogers S (2005) Rip currents-coordinating coastal research, outreach and forecast methodologies to improve public safety. In: Solutions to Coastal Disasters 2005, pp 285–296
Castelle B, Scott T, Brander RW, McCarroll RJ (2016) Rip current types, circulation and hazard. Earth Sci Rev 163:1–21
Cervantes O, Verduzco-Zapata G, Botero C, Olivos-Ortiz A, Chávez-Comparan JC, Galicia-Pérez M (2015) Determination of risk to users by the spatial and temporal variation of rip currents on the beach of Santiago Bay, Manzanillo, Mexico: beach hazards and safety strategy as tool for coastal zone management. Ocean Coast Manag 118:205–214
Dalrymple RA, MacMahan JH, Reniers AJHM, Nelko V (2011) Rip currents. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 43:551–581
Dermawan A (2017) 700 drowning cases recorded in Malaysia every year | New Straits Times. Retrieved 16 January 2021, from htpps://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/10/289879/700-drowning-cases-recorded-malaysia-every-year
Drozdzewski D, Shaw W, Dominey-Howes D, Brander R, Walton T, Gero A, Sherker S, Goff J, Edwick B (2012) Surveying rip current survivors: preliminary insights into the experiences of being caught in rip currents. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12(4):1201–1211. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-12-1201-2012
Drozdzewski D, Roberts A, Dominey-Howes D, Brander R (2015) The experiences of weak and non-swimmers caught in rip currents at Australian beaches. Aust Geogr 46(1):15–32
Fallon KM, Lai Q, Leatherman SP (2018) Rip current literacy of beachgoers at Miami Beach Florida. Nat Hazards 90(2):601–621
Gallop SL, Woodward E, Brander RW, Pitman SJ (2016) Perceptions of rip current myths from the central south coast of England. Ocean Coast Manag 119:14–20
Gensini VA, Ashley WS (2010) An examination of rip current fatalities in the United States. Nat Hazards 54(1):159–175
Gilchrist J, Branche C (2018) Lifeguard effectiveness. In: Tipton M, Wooler A (eds) The science of beach lifeguarding. CRC Press, Cambridge, pp 29–35
Hamsan MAS, Ramli MZ (2020) Rip current occurrence probability at selected recreational beaches along Pahang coastline. Ecofeminism Climate Change 1(1):37–50
Hamsan MAS, Ramli MZ (2021) Monsoonal influences on rip current hazards at recreational beaches along Pahang coastline Malaysia. Ocean Coast Manag 209:105689
Hamsan MAS, Mustapa MZ, Ramli MZ (2019) Morphology and sand characteristics at five recreational beaches in pahang. J Sustain Sci Manag 14(6):22–38
Hatfield J, Williamson A, Sherker S, Brander R, Hayen A (2012) Development and evaluation of an internvention to reduce rip current related beach drowning. Accid Anal Prev 46:45–51
Hirschmann R (2020) Travel and tourism in Malaysia - statistics & facts | statista. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from Travel, Tourism & Hospitality website: https//www.statista.com/topics/5741/travel-and-tourism-in-malaysia/
Houser C, Vlodarchyk B, Wernette P (2019) Public interest in rip currents relative to other natural hazards: evidence from Google search data. Nat Hazards 97(3):1395–1405
Ménard AD, Houser C, Brander RW, Trimble S, Scaman A (2018) The psychology of beach users: importance of confirmation bias, action, and intention to improving rip current safety. Nat Hazards 94(2):953–973
Mohammed Isa NA, Ramli MZ, Che Othman SF, Yusof MZ (2021) A preliminary studies to assess public knowledge of beach safety in east coast Malaysia. Nat Hazards 107(1):873–887
Mohd FA, Maulud KNA, Karim OA, Begum RA, Khan MF, Jaafar WSWM, Abdullah SMS, Toriman ME, Kamarudin MKA, Gasim MB, Wahab NA (2018) An assessment of coastal vulnerability of Pahang’s coast due to sea level rise. Int J Eng Technol 7(3.14):176–180
Mohd FA, Maulud KNA, Karim OA, Begum RA, Awang NA, Ahmad A, Azhary WAHWM, Kamarudin MKA, Jaafar M, Mohtar WHMW (2019) Comprehensive coastal vulnerability assessment and adaptation for Cherating-Pekan coast Pahang Malaysia. Ocean Coast Manag 182:104948
Muaz A (2014) Public Advised not to swim at a dangerous spot | New Straits Times. Retrieved 20 January 2021, from https://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/09/public-advised-not-swim-dangerous-spots
Peden AE, Scarr JP, Mahony AJ (2021) Analysis of fatal unintentional drowning in Australia 2008–2020: implications for the Australian Water Safety Strategy. Aust N Z J Public Health 45(3):248–254
Rosnan Yaacob ML, Hussein AT (1995) Variation of beach sand in relation to littoral drift direction along the Kuala Terengganu coast. Bull Geol Soc Malaysia 38:71–78. https://doi.org/10.7186/bgsm38199507
Shaw WS, Goff J, Brander R, Walton T, Roberts A, Sherker S (2014) Surviving the surf zone: towards more integrated rip current geographies. Appl Geogr 54:54–62
Sherker S, Williamson A, Hatfield J, Brander R, Hayen A (2010) Beachgoers’ beliefs and behaviours in relation to beach flags and rip currents. Accid Anal Prev 42(6):1785–1804
Silva-Cavalcanti JS, Costa MF, Pereira PS (2018) Rip currents signaling and users behaviour at an overcrowded urban beach. Ocean Coast Manag 155:90–97
Silva-Cavalcanti JS, de Lima Silva AR, da Silva JCP, de Barbosa Araujo MC, Maragotto MG, da Costa MF (2020) User’s perceptions about rip currents and their specific management approaches at a densely occupied Urban Beach. J Coast Res 95:953–957
Woodward E, Beaumont E, Russell P, MacLeod R (2015) Public understanding and knowledge of rip currents and beach safety in the UK. Int J Aquat Res Educ 9(1):49–69
Zulfakar MSZ, Akhir MF, Ariffin EH, Awang NA, Yaacob MAM, Chong WS, Muslim AM (2020) The effect of coastal protections on the shoreline evolution at Kuala Nerus, Terengganu (Malaysia). J Sustain Sci Manag 15(3):71–85
This publication is supported in part by UMP-IIUM-UiTM Sustainable Research Collaboration Grant 2020 (SRCG20-052-0052). We thank Department of Marine Science, Kulliyyah of Science and Institute of Oceanography and Maritime Studies (INOCEM) for their support and contributions to the study.
This research has been supported by UMP-IIUM-UiTM Sustainable Research Collaboration Grant 2020 (SRCG20-052-0052).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Yusof, M.Z., Ramli, M.Z., Che Othman, S.F. et al. Public understanding of rip current and beach safety at Teluk Cempedak Recreational Beach in Pahang, Malaysia. Nat Hazards 115, 489–506 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-022-05563-w