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Rescues prompt rip current warning, increased lifeguard presence on Salisbury Beach

Salisbury Beach in June 2020.
Salisbury Beach in June 2020.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

After a series of rescues at Salisbury Beach and nearby Hampton Beach in New Hampshire over the weekend, officials are warning beachgoers of the dangers of rip currents, which they say could sweep even the most experienced swimmers out to sea.

Six beachgoers were rescued on Salisbury Beach across a two-day period last week, according to Salisbury Fire Captain Andrew Murphy. On Thursday around 1:30, the department was called to the beach after bystanders swam out to help four people who had been swept out to sea. The following day, lifeguards rescued two teenage girls caught in a rip current.

The teenagers were uninjured, Murphy said.


Across the border, in New Hampshire, three swimmers had to be rescued on Hampton Beach on Sunday, WCVB-TV reported.

The Salisbury Beach rescues prompted the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to increase lifeguard staffing in the area. Lifeguards are now on beach daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the agency said. Previously, lifeguards patrolled the beach between those hours solely on weekends.

The expanded lifeguard presence on the beach began Saturday and will continue indefinitely.

“DCR urges all visitors to coastal beaches to swim cautiously, within their skill limits, and to try using the buddy system whenever possible,” the agency said in a statement.

Swimmers caught in a rip current are advised to swim parallel to the shore, rather than trying to fight the current.

State officials said adults should keep children under close supervision and never let them swim alone.

According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can “sweep even the strongest swimmer away from shore.”

Officials are warning of the dangers of rip currents.
Officials are warning of the dangers of rip currents.National Weather Service

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.