More swimmers, surfers and other beach-goers were rescued from the ocean along the county's busy coastline this season than in any other year in more than a decade, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Thursday.
With a record-breaking 14,331 rescues, 2014 was the busiest year in the history of the agency's Lifeguard Division.
The previous record for rescues was 14,096, set back in 1997. Chief Lifeguard Steve Mosley attributes the spike to four main weather-related reasons:
- Extended periods of extreme heat encouraged more people to hit the beach
- Inshore holes were created by unusually large surf
- More frequent rip currents caused by a combination of more inshore holes and consistently high surf
- Warmer ocean temperatures than normal. Ocean temperatures rarely dropped below 60 degrees this year, according to Mosley.
"The milestone is one that we can proudly celebrate today and positively reflect upon in the years to come. I would like to commend the men and women of the Lifeguard Division for their hard work and service to the public," Mosley said in a written statement.