LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Attendance at Los Angeles County beaches this year hit a new high, along with the number of ocean rescues, county lifeguard officials said Friday.
Over the past 20 years, the average number of people who visit county beaches in a year has been about 54.8 million. But as of Monday, more than 61.4 million have hit the beach, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division.
That doesn’t even include the number of people expected to escape to the beaches this weekend, when triple-digit temperatures are forecast for Southern California.
“For one, the lack of rain and extended periods of unseasonably warm weather this year have brought an increase in beach attendance to L.A. County beaches,” acting chief lifeguard Steve Moseley said. “Secondly, the frequency of high surf has caused frequent beach erosion and rip currents along our beaches. This in turn has caused more ocean rescues.”
According to the Lifeguard Division, there have been 11,666 ocean rescues already this year, above the average of 9.670 for an entire year. Lifeguards have also made 972 boat rescues, up from the annual average of 685.
Moseley said that the ocean water has been particularly warm, rarely falling below 60 degrees in the winter and averaging above 70 degrees in the summer.
“All of these contributing factors have combined to create one of the busiest years in memory for the Lifeguard Division,” he said.
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