Lifeguards: 265,000 beach visitors in Newport over holiday weekend

The Labor Day holiday weekend, combined with warm weather inland, reports of big surf and the approaching school year, brought thousands of visitors to Newport beaches, according to a lifeguard official.

“Bumper-to-bumper inbound traffic was reported throughout the afternoon on Sunday and Monday, combined with bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving the beach in the late afternoon, making it interesting to drive around the Newport Peninsula,” Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner said in an email. “The surf was large all weekend with rescue activity, 296 total rescues, increasing each day to a high of 117 rescues on Labor Day.”

Additionally, he said, “The surf stayed big longer than predicted, with excellent 5- to 7-foot surf all day Monday. Saturday afternoon, multiple lifeguards responded to swimmers being pulled out in a rip current at Tower 71.”

A teenage boy stuck in 10-foot waves was rescued by Unit guard Tyler Randall, who towed the boy to the lifeguard rescue boat, Turner said.

“The exhausted boy was taken to the emergency ramp at the Newport Pier for assessment by Paramedics and transported by the Medics to Hoag Hospital as a precaution,” Turner said.

Turner said that on Monday, about 100,000 people visited the beach, with 75,000 on Saturday and 90,000 on Sunday.

On Monday, waves were 5 to 7 feet with wave faces of 10 to 12 feet and occasional 15-foot sets at the Wedge. There were 88 rescues, 1,832 wet preventatives, 770 dry preventatives, 67 minor first aids, seven major medical aids, 200 surfer warnings and one lost person reunited.

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