Strong rip currents keep SWFD busy with rescues

July 2, 2010

Rip currents keep SWFD lifeguards busy with rescues on July 2. ©Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

More than a dozen people rescued from the Gulf July 2

The SWFD responded to four water rescue calls involving eight distressed swimmers by 11:30 a.m. July 2 and four more by 2 p.m.

As SWFD lifeguards worked tirelessly to warn beach goers of the inherent dangers that the surf conditions presented, many times their warnings were ignored requiring the lifeguards to perform rescues.

The South Walton Fire District (SWFD) would strongly encourage all beach goers to familiarize themselves with the beach flag warning system, the color of the flag and heed the warnings and directions of SWFD lifeguards.

The present surf conditions, remnants of Hurricane Alex, are very deceptive; while the waves and clear water look very inviting, due to the widespread locations, total number and strength of the rip currents, swimming in the Gulf extremely dangerous at this time.

“Knee deep is too deep,” Sean Hughes, Deputy Chief of SWFD said as a warning to anyone entering the gulf in these conditions.

“We take every measure to be proactive and not reactive, preventing a situation from developing is far better and safer than having to responding to a swimmer in distress.” said Sean Hughes, Deputy Chief.

“We are very fortunate that no one was seriously injured this morning” said Gary Wise, Beach Safety Director, “we need beach goers to monitor and follow the beach flags and direction of our lifeguards, under the current conditions knee deep is to deep.” Lifeguards will be out in force this holiday weekend to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe 4th of July at the beach.