The Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division performed 1,949 ocean rescues along local beaches from July 23, through August 2, after high surf resulted in strong rip currents along the shoreline. Unseasonably warm air and water temperatures brought 5.85 million people to the Los Angeles County shores during that time.
On July 30, emergency personnel responded to a 911 call reporting two swimmers in distress at Gorge 3 at Inspiration Point. This is an area in Rancho Palos Verdes where no lifeguards are present. While lifeguards rescued one swimmer, the second was found unresponsive. Though lifeguards and paramedics attempted lifesaving measures, he did not survive.
“Due to continued and unprecedented levels of activity, I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is that people swim and surf in front of an open and staffed lifeguard tower at all times,” said Chief Lifeguard Steve Moseley.
Beachgoers are reminded to always check with a lifeguard for the latest ocean and beach conditions. Always swim, surf and body board with a buddy, and stay out of the water at night.
Lifeguards also strongly advise against jumping off cliffs into the ocean, as this activity has led to drownings in the past. Lifeguards also urge swimmers to avoid dangerous rip currents, characterized by churning, choppy water and a break in the incoming wave pattern. These currents can quickly carry even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Most importantly, beach attendees should always heed instructions and warnings from lifeguards.
Lifeguards responded to 1,457 medical calls, rescued 22 vessels in distress and resuscitated 33 people throughout the week.
Los Angeles County Lifeguard Statistics, January 1 – August 2
Ocean Rescues 8,493
Medical Calls 10,909
Boat Rescues (Distress) 236
Beach Attendance 45,156,976
National Weather Service forecasters predict that the warm weather will continue at least through the next week, bringing millions more people to the shoreline. This year’s beach attendance is on track to exceed that of the last several years.