The Labor Day holiday weekend, combined with warm weather inland, reports of big surf and the approaching school year, brought thousands of visitors to Newport Beach beaches, according to a lifeguard official.
“Bumper to bumper inbound traffic was reported throughout the afternoon on Sunday and Monday, combined with bumper to bumper traffic leaving the beach in the late afternoon, making it interesting to drive around the Newport Peninsula,” said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner in an email. “The surf was large all weekend with rescue activity, 296 total rescues, increasing each day to a high of 117 rescues on Labor Day.”
Additionally, he said, “The surf stayed big longer than predicted, with excellent 5-7 foot surf all day Monday. Saturday afternoon, multiple lifeguards responded to swimmers being pulled out in a rip current at Tower 71.”
A teenage boy stuck in 10-foot waves was rescued by Unit guard Tyler Randall, who towed the boy to the lifeguard rescue boat, Turner said.
“The exhausted boy was taken to the emergency ramp at the Newport Pier for assessment by Paramedics and transported by the Medics to Hoag Hospital as a precaution,” Turner said.
Paramedics responded to 14 serious medical aid calls combined over the weekend, Turner said.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, lifeguards helped rescue multiple victims from a rip current near Tower #65, he said. The tide had pulled three tower guards, three unit operators and the victims a quarter mile offshore, he said.
“Lifeguards were assisted by a California State Lifeguard Rescue Boat crew, collecting the rescued swimmers and guards and returning them back to the surf line, where the swimmers were escorted to shore by the Newport Guards,” he said. The rescue lasted 22 minutes, which he said was “exceptional” because most rescues take three to four minutes to complete.
Turner said that on Monday, about 100,000 people visited the beach, with 75,000 on Saturday and 90,000 on Sunday. On Monday, waves were 5 to 7 feet with wave faces of 10 to 12 feet and occasional 15-foot sets at the Wedge. There were 88 rescues, 1,832 wet preventatives, 770 dry preventatives, 67 minor first aids, seven major medical aids, 200 surfer warnings and one lost person reunited.
On Saturday, about 75,000 people visited the beach. The surf was 6 to 8 feet, and there were 91 rescues, 2,869 wet preventives, 125 dry preventatives, 69 minor first aid, nine people reunited and 105 surfer warnings.
On Sunday, attendance was 90,000 with surf again 6 to 8 feet, 117 rescues, 2,853 wet preventatives, 379 dry preventatives, 72 minor first aids, four major first aids, 18 lost people reunited and 107 surfer warnings.
On Monday, there were 12 boat warnings, with 10 on Saturday and 35 on Sunday.
Water temperature was between 66 and 68 degrees all weekend, Turner said.