Staying Safe at San Diego's Beaches

Posted By The McClellan Law Firm || Sep 3, 2014

Summer is quickly coming to an end, but the warm weather is keeping our beaches busy. Over Labor Day weekend, more than 500,000 people visited San Diego's beaches – and according to lifeguards, they are well on their way to making a record number of water rescues this year.

A recent 10News article highlighted the increase in lifeguard rescues this year. According to a lieutenant with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, lifeguards are currently on track to rescue more than 6,000 people this year – far more than the 5,000 they rescue on average each year.

More than 120 lifeguards were on duty on Labor Day, which is typically the last major beach weekend in the area. Over the holiday weekend, San Diego lifeguards reportedly made 164 rescues and 182 medical aid calls. They also carried out more than 7,800 preventative acts, which constitutes warning beachgoers of dangerous currents and other hazards.

According to the lieutenant interviewed by 10News, rip currents are one of the most prevalent dangers at San Diego's beaches. These powerful currents can pull unsuspecting swimmers out into potentially dangerous areas. Nearly all lifeguard rescues are in rip currents.

Beaches in the San Diego area are also still experiencing a bit of swell left over from Hurricane Marie, which formed in the Northeast Pacific on August 22 and dissipated on August 29.

If you decide to visit a local beach before the summer ends, it is important to be aware of certain safety tips:

  • Check water conditions before you go out.
  • Do not swim or surf alone. Regardless of how experienced you may be, adverse weather or water conditions could place you in danger. Having someone else there to seek help can make all the difference.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, do not try to swim against the current. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current, and then turn and swim to the shore. If you cannot swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free from the current and then head toward the shore. Wave and call for help if you are experiencing trouble getting out of the current.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties, as permanent rip currents are often found in these areas.
  • If you notice someone in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If possible, throw the person something that floats, such as a life jacket, inflatable ball, etc. while you await professional help.
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and near the water.
  • Carefully supervise children, even if they know how to swim. A strong wave could knock a child off his or her feet, and rip currents can easily draw them into deep and dangerous water.
  • Do not swim while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Obey lifeguard instructions, orders and warnings while you are at the beach.

For additional information and insight on beach safety and summer safety as a whole, or to discuss a case involving accidental injury, please do not hesitate to call a San Diego injury lawyer at The McClellan Law Firm. We are experienced, dedicated and ready to handle personal injury claims related to lifeguard negligence, swimming pool accidents, drownings, water park accidents and various other situations related to water and summer activities in Southern California.

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