Lifeguards urge people to stay out of Jacksonville Beach water

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — A family is grieving the death of a loved one after officials said he lost his life trying to save his daughter.

Police said William Moritz got caught in a rip current trying to save his 6-year-old daughter at Jacksonville Beach on Saturday. The girl was released from the hospital Saturday night.

A gofundme for Moritz said a tide pulled his daughter into the water and he dived in to get her.

Officials urged beachgoers to stay out of the rough surf through the weekend. There is a high surf and rip current advisory in effect until 8 a.m. Monday.

Bill Horn, captain of Volunteer Lifesaving Corps of Jacksonville Beach, told Action News Jax every second counts and that’s why lifeguards-in-training are practicing rehearsal drills in case the unexpected happens.

"No. 1 (for) safety (is) do not go out (in the water). No. 2, if you’re going to swim, swim near a lifeguard,” said Horn.

Horn said the wind is causing significant waves on Jacksonville Beach with some swells up to 5 feet that could easily pull swimmers into a rip current.

“If you get in (a rip current) and you’re in the thigh deep water and then you're suddenly waist deep, chest deep, it happens within 5 to 10 seconds sometimes,” Horn said.

If you get caught in a rip current lifeguards say to swim parallel to the shore then swim back to land at an angle.

Horn said you should never fight Mother Nature, and in a rip current he said it’s important to stay calm to conserve energy and oxygen.

If you’re unable to swim out of the rip current, Horn recommends waving your arm and yelling for help.

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