LA County Ocean Rescues in 2014 Soar Past 20 Year Average

The number of boat and ocean rescues at Los Angeles County beaches have already soared past the 20 year average during the first nine months of 2014.

Los Angeles County lifeguards have responded to nearly 2,000 more ocean rescues and 300 more boat rescues in 2014 than the yearly average for the last two decades, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Between 1994 and 2013, lifeguards were called out, on average, to 9,670 ocean rescues. That number is already at 11,666 so far this year.

Acting chief lifeguard Steve Moseley said there were a variety of reasons for the high number of rescues.

“For one, the lack of rain and extended periods of unseasonably warm weather this year have brought an increase in beach attendance to LA County Beaches,” Moseley said in a statement. “Secondly, the frequency of high surf (Winter NW swells and also South swells such as the Hurricane Marie swell) has caused frequent beach erosion and rip currents along our beaches.”

Beach attendance was at 61.4 million for the first three-quarters of the year, already up 6.6 million from the 20 year average. Boat rescues stood at 972 so far this year, nearly 300 more than the yearly average.

Moseley said aside from the increase in beach attendance and frequency of high surf, the warm ocean temperatures have also contributed to a bustling year.

“All of these contributing factors have combined to create one of the busiest years in recent memory for the Lifeguard Division,” Moseley said.

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