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Rip Currents Behind Vast Majority Of Lifeguard Rescues At SoCal Beaches

MALIBU ( — As Angelenos run for the beaches during this May heatwave, Southland lifeguards are urging them to check for possible riptides before jumping into the water.

KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports about 14 million have already flocked to Los Angeles County beaches ahead of what is expected to be a very busy season for lifeguards.

Lifeguard Rescues Spike As Heat Wave Drives Angelenos To Beaches

A record-breaking heat wave that began Wednesday and was expected to extend through at least Friday could make for a crowded weekend at beaches in Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu and elsewhere.

But it's those swimmers who are unfamiliar with the risks of ocean swimming that can prove to be the biggest challenge for lifeguards like LA County Lifeguard Capt. Kyle Daniels.

Daniels estimated 90 percent of rescues made at the beach are for those who have underestimated rip currents.

"A rip current can sweep anyone up at any time," Daniels sod. "Those are usually well spotted...if you're swimming near a lifeguard tower, we'll set up our orange flag and set off safe swim areas so people can avoid those areas."

Swimmers who are less confident of their ability to handle stronger rip currents are encouraged to swim near one of more than 150 lifeguard towers along the LA County shoreline.

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