SEASIDE, Ore. – Lifeguards rescued two Portland 16-year-old teenagers from the ocean Friday after they were swept up in the current.
One girl struggled in the water and when her friend went in after her, he found himself in trouble too, said lifeguard Kai Watts.
The boy started yelling for help.
"The first one I got to, he was a little panicky. He was freaking out. He was yelling," Watts said.
He gave the boy his "rescue can," a small narrow floatation device made out of hard plastic, and told him to hold onto it. Then he took off for the girl.
"I went 20, 25 yards over and got another girl and then got her on the board, we paddled over to him, and then we all came in together."
It was a close call for a group of teens from Portland.
"They were surprised they got in that situation," Watts said.
But it's nothing new for him. He knows the power of rip currents and the potential danger when crowds of people come out on a sunny, summer day.
"You can be the best swimmer – Michael Phelps – but trying to swim up a severe river, it's not going to happen. You have to know how to get out of that situation," Watts said.
The best thing to do is avoid the rip currents all together. Before you even get in the water, check with the lifeguards and find out where the safest spots in the ocean are that day.
Watts recommends staying where it's shallow.
If you do find yourself getting pulled out in the ocean, don't try and fight the current. Go parallel with the shore and then on an angle until you can get back to the beach.
Having a lifeguard onsite probably made the difference between a rescue and a drowning Friday. Watts was able to get to the two teenagers in just a few minutes compared to the 20 minutes it would have taken the U.S. Coast Guard to get word and get there to help.
It's why Watts says it's a good idea to choose one of the few beaches in Oregon with lifeguards, like Seaside, if you're going to swim in the ocean.
Lifeguards in Seaside will have extended hours on the Fourth of July. They'll be on duty until eight or nine at night.