A half dozen swimmers were rescued by lifeguards Friday evening along the beach in Ocean City as rip currents formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Arthur, an Ocean City Beach Patrol official said Saturday.
One person who was rescued required hospitalization, said Butch Arbin, captain of the beach patrol.
All the rescues occurred after the lifeguards had gone off duty for the evening at 5:25 p.m., but while mobile beach patrols were in place through 7:30 p.m. for the busy holiday weekend, Arbin said. The resort town had heavy rain and gusty wind from Arthur earlier in the day, followed by clear skies, but dangerous surf and rip currents.
In addition to the swimmers, a surfer was rescued by three lifeguards and a Coast Guard boat in Ocean City's inlet after the surfer got caught in a current near a rock jetty, Arbin said. The Coast Guard said its Ocean City station was contacted at 3 p.m. Friday, saying beach patrol members needed assistance after the surfer was carried to the inlet by a storm current. No injuries were reported.
"It is obvious that the bigger waves caused by storms and hurricanes would be attractive to surfers," Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Tomlin, a coxswain from Coast Guard Station Ocean City, said in a statement. "But what people don't realize is that when they find themselves in trouble and need assistance, they place the life of others in danger."
Tomlin cautioned that "even the best swimmers" should stay out of the water during storms.
By Saturday, the risk of rip currents had diminished along the town's 10 miles of beach and no rescues were reported, though the beaches drew large crowds, Arbin said.