It’s been a busy weekend in Ocean City, MD and not because of the Labor Day Holiday. Sadly the Rip Current Alert Saturday or the photos of the beach eroded sand wall I showed (seen by over 275,000 people and linked at the bottom of this post) were enough to safely keep people out of the water. This is not the type of article I want to write, but needs to be told. The heroes are the lifeguards, just doing their job. But there are not in all places all the time. Three recent stories below are just part of the roughly 200 water rescues by lifeguards in the rough waters this holiday weekend.
1) On Saturday, a 7 year old girl was swimming at the Inlet Beach and was knocked down by a wave, then pulled under. Jessica Waters, a police spokeswomen said divers eventually found her, but she was declared dead later at a hospital. She was swimming after lifeguards were off duty.
2) A 35 year old man went missing, but the search was called off by the Coast Guard after 10 exhausting hours of trying to find him in a 55 square nautical mile area. It was a reluctant stop, and their thoughts are with the family.
3) Even with two tragedies, I wanted to share one good note. David Chinery shared this story on my Facebook Page (in his own words):
” I was at the beach last week. My grandson was pulled out. I thank Tom, Lifeguard Supervisor at 8th Street last Saturday. I was swimming to get to him. Tom was a whole lot faster and managed him brilliantly!
My view of the problem is that it is a man made cause. When you come out to the beach there is an obvious “hump” close to the waterline, with a steep dropoff to the water. Because of the lack of “gradual” beach the energy of these powerful waves cannot dissipate. Simply put, the water slows very quickly and then immediately pushed by the next wave. The only option for the water is to “create” a path to return to the ocean, between the waves. Thus creating powerful moving Rips. A telltale sign is where you sea areas of lighter cloudier water in the surf.
Just a personal observation but I believe if the beach had a more gradual sloping descent to the surf, this problem would improve. I was also appalled that OC reduced Lifeguard staffing by half during these conditions and before Labor Day!! ?? The Guards that day were dedicated Warriors!! Last weekend and did a fantastic job.”
Note: High Tide in Ocean City, MD is 4:07 PM. That is when the water will push up agains the sand wall the hardest, and the undertow/rip current could be strongest even though there is no official alert today.
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