Lifeguards back in the stands at New Hanover County Beaches, see busy MDW

Lifeguards back in the stands at New Hanover County Beaches, see busy MDW
Published: May. 29, 2022 at 3:12 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - As more people are heading to the beaches across southeastern North Carolina, Ocean Rescue teams have started increasing their patrols. As of Sunday afternoon, New Hanover County beaches had over 20 ocean rescues.

“Yesterday we had approximately six rescues rip current related,” said Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Captain Sam Proffitt. “Most of them in this general area here next to Mercers Pier.”

Rip currents are something that Ocean Rescue teams across the coast warn beachgoers about constantly, but it’s something that they say can’t be talked about enough.

“Rip currents can occur at any time,” Proffitt says. “Just be careful when you come to the beach. Always recognize, you know, how to get out of a rip current if you get stuck in one.”

Thousands of people headed to local beaches this weekend to celebrate the holiday, and it kept lifeguard stands busy on their first weekend back on the sand.

“I go out in the water all the time,” said Vacationer Joseph Herrin. “But you got to be safety conscious and know your surroundings and pay attention. Just don’t let your common sense leave your mind whenever you hit the beach.”

If you find yourself stuck in a rip current, Ocean Rescue says don’t panic and don’t try to swim against it. If you swim parallel to the shore, you’ll be able to safely leave the rip current.

“Even on days where we’re flying green flags, rip currents can still occur,” said Proffitt. “You need to be very cautious, like I said, time and time again. You come to the beach, always swim near a lifeguard stand.”

Another helpful tip from Ocean Rescue, always pay attention to the flags the lifeguards are flying before you head into the water.

For more information on rip current safety, click here.

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