More than 600 beachgoers rescued as strong rip currents hit SoCal beaches

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Rip currents and waves have led to hundreds of rescues in Southern California beaches over the weekend, and the danger remains for the next few days.

Huntington Beach lifeguards rescued more than 200 people struggling to swim out of rip currents and bigger waves over the weekend. Lifeguards in Los Angeles County also made around 600 rescues and 700 medical emergencies.

"The water is extremely warm, the surf is extremely big. We've got a lot of people crowded on the beach, and we've got rip currents, so it's keeping us really, really busy," said Lt. Greg Crow.

Some surfers also came to the rescue, giving struggling swimmers their board to hold on to while lifeguards were on the way.

The best way to avoid being caught in a rip current: ask the lifeguards. Crow said those on duty would be more than happy to point out the rip currents and any other potential danger for swimmers.

A south swell this week is bringing sets from 4 to 8 feet in Huntington Beach. Lifeguards have been patrolling by boat and Jet Ski.

"We have boats out there to help supplement and backup our guards in the towers, but also to help to provide rescue to the public that's going swimming," said Lt. Eric Dieterman.

The lifeguard towers are staffed beginning at 9:30 a.m. If you're not a good swimmer, the advice from lifeguards is only wade in up to your waist.

High surf and strong rip currents are expected to last through Wednesday on L.A. and Orange County coasts. South-facing beaches will be the main concern, from Long Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes, and to the north, Malibu and Zuma beaches.
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