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Lifeguards already being called to water rescues with warmer weather on Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION)-- When the surf is big, and the currents are strong, lifeguards are keeping a close watch on people enjoying their time at the beach, especially as the weather gets warmer. 

As temperatures go up, so does the number of people going to the beaches of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. 

"Often than not we find a few more incidents when the weather gets really warm like this. So spring break we get a few more people out at the beaches but this weather definitely compounds that,” said James Nothhelfer, Lifeguard Supervisor for California State Parks Monterey District 

It’s still early in the year, but Monterey District Lifeguards have already been called to help. 

“We had a rescue on Monday evening at this same beach then we also had a boat capsize yesterday (Tuesday) at Moss Landing,” added Nothhelfer.  

Nothhelfer says 911 calls between Memorial Day and Labor Day tend to be the highest. That's when California State Parks Monterey District lifeguards increase operations and set up towers at Seaside, Asilomar,  Marina and Monastery Beach. 

It takes a team to rescue those who fall victim to the Pacific’s mighty grasp. 

“Usually, we call for backup from the coastguard. The fire department also has a boat they’ll send out. They’ll also provide shore support with resources that can come down and give medical care as needed or also give us hand signals from the beach so that when we are swimming toward the victim we are able to get to their location more efficiently," said Nothhelfer.

Something Will McLaughlin, a firefighter visiting from San Diego, has had a first-hand experience with.

“I’ve been involved in the rescues the lifeguards are the ones who will get them out of the water for the most part and then we help once they are onshore," said McLaughlin.

Before you dip your toes in the water, lifeguards want you to know your limits, even if you are a seasoned beachgoer. 

Don’t be tricked by the calm waters. The risk of sneaker waves and rip currents can still remain a danger. 

Another potential beach risk, digging deep holes in the sand, which can cave in.  And though it might be heating up, the water still has a bite.

"The water is pretty chilly its around 54 degrees, 52 degrees this time of year,” Nothhelfer.  

If you see someone out in the water, call 911 and keep a good eye on the person.

Don’t try to be a good samaritan, you could end up being more work for rescuers. 

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.


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