Monday, October 1, 2012

September 2012: In Like A Lion... Out Like A Screaming Banshee!...

SMS Tower #24, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. L2R: OL Justin Kirby and OLS Richard Solomon, standing off a rip. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2012.

OL Elle Quane watching the water at SMS Tower #22, Labor Day 2012. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2012.

September 2012 started with a hurricane generated southern swell on the First and lasted throughout Labor Day Weekend with hundreds of rescues being performed by LACo Ocean Lifeguards along Central Section and parts of the northern edge of So. Section, e.g., DWN (aka, Playa Del Rey), etc.  The receding or descending tides in the afternoon to one foot and zero tides also exposed the inshore holes to the increasing surf resulting in sudden blitz rips and rescues!  It was NUTS in Venice and Santa Monica South!

September also brought the passing of several of our beloved lifeguards, including OL Ion Hartunian on Sept. 11th and Lt. Dick Heineman on Sept. 15th.  It's been a tough month for our cadre. R.I.P.: Ion and Dick!
Ion Hartunian Memorial Service, Sept. 21, 2012 at Will Rogers Tower #15. Photo by Will Maguire

Lt. Dick Heineman's Memorial Service, Sat., Sept. 29, 2012 at Ave-23 in Venice. Photo by Will Maguire
And if that weren't enough, in the middle of September several brush fires started in the Santa Monica Mountains in the communities of Pacific Palisades and Bel Air, bringing flights of the Super Scooper Fire Fighting Airplanes doing multiple repeat sorties and water replenishment from the ocean with Baywatch rescue boats standing by as safety personnel and clearance of the landing and take offs at the surface.

Super Scooper over Will Rogers State Beach. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2012.

Super Scooper returning for more water over Will Rogers State Beach. Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2012.

And before you knew it, it was September 29th and another set of storms, this time from north and south, brought in some swells and the tides again were receding to zero and one foot tides with rips appearing. Only now the towers weren't all open and this meant OL's were watching two to three tower lengths of water or more in some cases. And don't those September swimmers love to go swimming at the closed towers?!...

The Biggest Lesson of September by far, in our opinion, is "Beware the Ides of September!"  (e.g., the combination of high temps (equaling big crowds and swimmers), descending tides, and storm produced surf, e.g., just when you think the day is over, even though the sun has not yet set and most people have left the beach... beware the sudden inexplicable rip current and the novice and untrained ocean swimmers.  In the words of Veteran Dockweiler (L.A. City) Ocean Lifeguard, Richard Fletcher (Ret.), remember:  "Even on the most tranquil of days, things can go sideways in a heartbeat."
The setting sun from Will Rogers Tower #15, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. Photo by Will Maguire.

Here's to October ! Keep Watchin' The Water!...


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

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