Lifeguards Seeing More Spring Breakers On SoWal Beaches

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During tourist season, the South Walton population can rise from twenty thousand to more than one hundred thousand.

"The attendance, which is basically the number of people in the primary zones of our lifeguard towers, we have nine towers across twenty six miles of beach, has been up" said SWFD Beach Safety Director Gary Wise.

The lifeguards have made personal contact with more than thirty-one thousand visitors. Some needed saving.

"One guard who was out doing public contacts saw a rip current. Saw a group close to the edge of a rip current. That group ended up getting into the rip current and he pulled all six of them out" said Wise.

But the majority of that contact involved educating people about swimming conditions.

"Letting the people know where the safe areas are to swim. Letting them know where the rip currents have a possibility of forming if it's a long way from a lifeguard tower" said Wise.

Using the large crowds this spring as an indicator, wise says he expects the summer season to be even bigger. Because of the huge spring break increase, the South Walton Fire District responded to 473 incidents and answered more than 1500 calls for service. That was up from 900-calls in February.