Lifeguards expect crowded beaches for Fourth of July weekend

By Vic Micolucci, General assignment reporter, vic@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:49:09 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2014 07:30:39 PM EDT

As Arthur churned off our coastline rip currents have been an especially big concern along our beaches. Combined with the July 4th holiday weekend, lifeguards have been busy working to keep beachgoers safe.

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to hit the coast this weekend to celebrate Independence Day. Lifeguards at Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic beaches are asking people to be careful because there are still dangerous conditions leftover from Hurricane Arthur.

On Thursday, storms had a lot of people off the beaches, but lifeguards said they are expecting a busy three-day weekend, especially Friday for the Fourth of July.

They said most of the dangerous conditions from Arthur are gone, but there are still rip currents, larger than usual waves and stronger surf. So they are asking people to be extra careful.

Every lifeguard that works for Neptune Beach Ocean Rescue will be on duty Friday to make sure everyone in the water and on the sand is safe. They are also going to be working closely with the fire department and the police department.

“This week has been pretty busy,” said Capt. Rich Banks of Neptune beach Ocean Rescue. “We did a good job of making people aware of the water conditions. Staying on our whistles, trying to get people to stay waist deep or less. Just making them very aware of the water conditions.”

Banks said his team didn't have to perform any rescues as the storm passed offshore.

Lifeguards also warned missing children could be a problem as fireworks go off, because it will be dark, and some of the younger kids could get lost.

“I would never be more than 10 feet away from my child, especially if they're going to the water,” Banks said. “Make sure that you always have an idea of where they are.”

Lifeguards in Jacksonville and Neptune beaches are giving out wristbands that parents can write their child's name on, along with contact information in case the child gets lost. They could help eliminate the mayhem as the beaches get crowded for the Independence Day festivities.

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