Fernandina Beach lifeguards, firefighters rescue teen from rip current

Teen rescued by lifeguard trainees

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Quick action by Fernandina Beach lifeguards and firefighters led to the rescue of a 17-year-old from Brunswick.

The teen was one of three people pulled out by a rip current at Peters Point on Saturday.

“We got dispatched to three swimmers in a rip current and they were starting to get farther and farther out,” Haynes Cavender said.

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The Fernandina Beach Ocean Rescue supervisor said 15 lifeguards were doing CPR and first aid training at a facility off-site when the call came in.

He grabbed two trainees with experience and rushed to the beach while the fire department sent two rescue swimmers. The county also dispatched its rescue boat.


Cavender said when the lifeguards got to the beach, two swimmers had gotten themselves to safety, but the third was 300 yards out.

“You’re past the breakers. It’s a good distance even for a lifeguard just to swim out there,” he said. “We got out there, and we were able to get him on a rescue board.”

Cavender said the teen was shaking and cramping up as they brought him to shore, but his condition quickly improved. He was medically cleared at the beach.

“A distressed swimmer can go under just like that, so we want our people to understand that it’s fast response,” he said.

Cavender said red flags were flying at the beach all weekend. He said lifeguards urge families not to go in past their knees when rip currents are present.

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“To identify rip currents, if there’s discoloration in the water or if there’s waves that are breaking funny, they’re not breaking regular, very foamy – we want to stay away from that area,” he said.

Lifeguards will be on the beach during Shrimp Fest weekend, but it won’t be fully manned until Memorial Day weekend, when they hope to have 60 lifeguards.

Cavender said they’re still looking to fill 20 positions for the season.

Anyone interested should call or email Cavender at 904-310-3153 or hcavender@fbfl.org.