How to stay safe at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It was a peaceful, calm day at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, but looks can be deceiving.

“It’s kinda like being in a washing machine for lack of better terms,” said San Francisco Fire Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter.

Baxter says too often people underestimate what’s going on beneath the surface. the most dangerous part — the rip currents.

“Regardless of how the ocean looks, there are always rip currents no matter what time of year, no matter what the surf looks,” he said.

On Friday, crews showed KRON4 the intense effort that goes into a surf rescue.

“Standard surf rescue — you’re gonna have about 40+ individuals who are assisting with the rescue,” Baxter said.

On average the San Francisco Fire Department said there’s nearly 200 rescues along the coasts each year. Most of them are at Ocean Beach.

“We don’t have lifeguards at Ocean Beach for a specific reason,” he said. “We’re not giving the image that this is a safe beach.”

While firefighters recommend no swimming here, if you find yourself stuck in a current, they say remain calm, swim parallel to shore out of the current and then back to shore.

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