Many holiday beach-goers escaped the heat by swimming in the ocean at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday, Aug. 30. While the clear blue water looked inviting, lifeguards flew yellow flags on their stands to warn swimmers of moderately rough waters with the potential for rip currents.
As the day wore on and the tide continued to drop, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue personnel were called into action to pull swimmers out of rip currents. Ocean Rescue director Dave Baker said as of about 5:45 p.m. they had responded to a dozen calls.
“It’s really picked up in the last hour because we just passed low tide,” Baker said. “It’s nothing really bad though, when we got there people were in close enough that they could stand up.”
Baker explained that rip currents were more likely to form in the period two hours prior to low tide and one hour after. He said the higher number of rescues was due to the large amount of people in the water.
Baker encouraged swimmers to talk to a lifeguard if they are unsure whether the water is safe, because rip currents are often difficult to spot.
“Swim within your limitations, understand how to get out of a rip current, and swim in front of a lifeguard stand,” Baker said.