Rip currents threaten Brevard, Volusia beaches during busy beach day



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Brevard County Ocean Rescue is stepping up its patrols Friday as the Fourth of July holiday brings in massive crowds.

They added 10 more people to patrol the waters.

The beaches are a lot busier compared to earlier this week, when bands from Tropical Storm Arthur passed through and the rip currents were a major threat.

Now, officials are only flying yellow flags along the beaches.

The downgrade came just in time for the holiday weekend.

Brevard County businesses near the beach were also packed on Friday.

“Usually it's really steady and there is an even flow of traffic, but today it's just swamped and we are like, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’” said Brevard County resident Alexandra Madden.

Lifeguards felt the same way.

Brevard County has 24 lifeguard towers and 50 people on staff, but Friday they added another ten to deal with the crowds.

Even though the threat of rip currents has downgraded since Arthur, officials are still warning swimmers.

“A couple days after might look really inviting, but everything has recently changed and moves around so the potential for rip currents are definitely out there,” said Derek Swor with Brevard County Ocean Rescue.

Orlando resident James Miranda is visiting Cocoa Beach for the holiday and said he’s keeping a close eye on the water, while the other is on the grill.

“We have barbeque, we have family, can’t beat it. It’s the best time of our lives," he said.

Meanwhile over in Volusia County, Beach Safety is flying red flags for hazardous beach conditions.

Officials said they’ve rescued 72 people from the rough waters without injury.

They said they have also closed some beach gates to vehicles due to parking capacity.