Warning-level south shore surf keeping lifeguards busy

Warning-level south shore surf keeping lifeguards busy

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A large and dangerous south swell has brought warning-level surf for Sunday, keeping lifeguards busy.

According to the city Ocean Safety Division, lifeguards performed a total of 147 rescues at Sandy Beach, the south shore and west shores. The highest number of rescues, 87, were made along south shore shore beaches.

Lifeguards also issued 4,140 preventatives, the term for situations where lifeguards issue warnings or advisories to surfers, swimmers and beachgoers.

A slow-moving storm just east of New Zealand last week generated the swell. Forecasters expect surf of 10 to 15 foot faces Sunday, declining advisory-level 8 to 12 foot face waves Monday.

The city's Ocean Safety Division said the swell is one of the largest so far this summer. It also made Saturday one the busiest days for lifeguards in recent memory, according to city Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

"This weekend we saw everything from small children nearly drowning on the west side to the experienced surfers getting into trouble, and everything in between," she said.

On Saturday, some lifeguards were kept at their stations longer because of the high surf, especially at crowded town sites like Waikiki:

"You can't leave a beach that crowded empty. So we did have some of our lifeguards stay overtime," said Enright. "Definitely worth the money in our mind."

The weather service said the impact of the high surf will be high, with waves occasionally sweeping over portions of beaches, along with strong breaking waves, longshore and rip currents. Breaking waves may occasionally impact harbor entrances, making it dangerous to navigate.

The large breaking waves, significant shorebreak and strong rip currents will make entering the water very hazardous. Officials said anyone entering the water could face injury or death. Boaters are also b aware of an increased number of surfers using harbor channels to get to surfing areas.

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