St. Johns County lifeguards rescue 18 swimmers

Stay safe when enjoying the beach

Safety should remain first this holiday weekend.
Safety should remain first this holiday weekend.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Lifeguards on St. Johns County beaches rescued 18 swimmers from the surf on Sunday.

St. Johns County Fire Rescue said lifeguards also responded to eight medical emergencies, two missing persons and one disabled jet ski.

SJCFR anticipated rip currents to decrease as tropical depression Bonnie moves further away from our coastline during the day Monday.

Although the risk will decrease, St. Johns County Marine Rescue will continue to fly red flags as the potential for rip current will remain at the moderate level.

A popular spot Memorial Day weekend is Mickler's Landing beach. From the time the sun comes up, the sand starts filling with people enjoying the great weather.

Mike Zickella just got back from a mission trip and this was his first chance to surf. He says that with the storm off of our coast, he knew that for the next three days he’d have some pretty good waves.

“It feels like it's going to get better. I'm hoping that it does,” Zickella said.

Others aren't so confident. They’re trying to enjoy the waters while they are a little calmer. The rip currents are out there, and some of them are visible from the sand. That leads many people to stay close to the shore as they enjoy the warm waters.

“I won't go out over my head because of them. And depending on how strong the current is, I may not go out past my waist,” said local swimmer, Bob Wellington.

“People jump into the waves. Then you're in the rip current and if you're in an area where there's a little bit of an undertow, it starts to pull you. So you start to worry in knee-deep water and now you're in waist-deep water,” said lifeguard Bill Horne. “The next time you jump out you're up to your chest. So then people see they're at their chest and try to swim in, but then their feet leave the ground and that's the only thing keeping them in one solid place, and they start to get pulled out.”