Volusia lifeguards rescue 103 beachgoers from strong rip currents

Hurricane Larry churns waters off Florida coast

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Lifeguards in Volusia County on Sunday rescued 103 people from strong rip currents, according to beach officials.

The announcement comes as lifeguards expect another busy day at the beaches on Labor Day.

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“With the high tide we have and the outgoing tide for most of the day, we are going to have extreme rip currents (on Monday),” Volusia County Beach Safety Captain A.J. Miller said.

According to weather officials, the high risk of dangerous rip currents is expected to continue into the week because of Larry, a Category 3 hurricane swirling early Monday about 730 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands.

Beach officials urged people to swim near a lifeguard.

Lifeguards also warned beachgoers about jellyfish, prompting beach officials to fly purple flags on Monday.

Elliot Potter, visiting from Iowa, said he enjoyed the beach.

“I’ll be cautious, you know, going forward, knowing that there are jellyfish out there but not too cautious to not have fun,” Elliot Potter said.

Arturo Flores, 19, said he was swimming Monday morning when he got stung by a jellyfish.

“I was just chilling in the water for a little bit. I eventually came out and put some vinegar on it and that was it, really,” Flores said.

On Monday, crews rescued 45 people out of the water.

What’s a rip current?

Rip currents are created when strong winds push large volumes of water onto the beach. All of that water has nowhere to go besides back out to sea. The water keeps building up onshore until it collects enough volume to create a new current but in reverse.

Rip currents can also vary in intensity based primarily on the speed and direction of the wind. The more perpendicular the winds are to the shore, the stronger the currents will be.

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, there are a few steps you should take to escape the pull.

  • First, do not panic. If you begin to get tired, turn on your back and float for a few seconds to rest your arms and legs.
  • Next, start swimming parallel to the coastline until you begin to feel the pull relax.
  • From there, start swimming back to shore at an angle. Many panicked swimmers try swimming straight back to shore. That causes them to swim directly against the current, which increases their risk of drowning due to fatigue.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!