Low beach attendance for January; no water rescues

VERO BEACH — While chilly temperatures caused a drop in beach attendance last month, lifeguards are happy to report that there were no water rescues that occurred in January.

“It’s a great thing,” Vero Beach Lifeguard Association officials said in a statement. “We hope people are paying attention to lifeguards and condition signs before they go into the water.”

The Vero Beach Lifeguard Association recently released its monthly report for the beaches at Jaycee Park, Humiston Park and South Beach Park. Lifeguards said about 54,105 beachgoers flocked to the shore in January.

The highest beach-attendance record of 65,700 was set in 2019 for Vero Beach, lifeguards said. The record low for beach attendance was set in 2016 with 36,000 people, a number unmatched since lifeguards started tracking beach statistics in 2011.

Lifeguards also detailed two major medical incidents, along with rip currents and beach erosion in the monthly report. A man and woman were treated by emergency medical services after they both fell at Jaycee Park in two separate incidents last month, lifeguards said.

The woman slipped and struck her head, which caused heavy bleeding. The man fell and injured his knee, lifeguards said.

Lifeguards said moderate beach erosion caused a high ledge to form on the shoreline. Officials said the formation was likely caused by the beach re-nourishment sand that was placed on the shore last year.

Lifeguards said the beach-renourishment sand, tides, winds and currents created a sandbar at South Beach and sections of Jaycee Beach. This has caused strong rip currents to occur in these areas during the falling tides.

Lifeguards noted there is a substantial slope to the water line at South Beach Park, making it difficult for them to see beachgoers at the shoreline. All swimmers should pay close attention to beach condition signs and flags, swim near lifeguard towers and avoid swimming during non-guarded hours.

“More people are on the beach outside the guarded areas increasing the likelihood of accidents and drownings,” lifeguard officials said.

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