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Swimmers warned about 'tranquil' ocean
Jim Donahue, lifeguard chief at Hampton Beach who is now in his 54th year on the job, said he can't remember a year with so few water rescues.
"This summer has been so calm," Donahue said.
"We've had the most benign conditions you could imagine for the month of July," Donahue said.
He attributes the quiet conditions to the lack of any significant storms out at sea that often increase the threat of rough surf and dangerous rip currents that can catch swimmers by surprise.
The two men told officials that they went into the water for a swim but were suddenly swept out by a strong rip current.
Signs posted along the beach warn swimmers about rip currents and how to swim out of them when they feel themselves being pulled out farther off shore.
Swimmers caught in a current should swim parallel to the shoreline until they reach an area where they no longer feel a pull, Donahue said.
However, Sawyer said the rip current was too strong for the boy, who eventually turned back and also had to be helped out by others on the beach.
Off-duty lifeguards from the state park responded as well.
Stillings and Gioiosa were pulled to safety aboard the rescue boat and transported to the public safety dock in Hampton Harbor.
"It was a team effort and that's an ongoing thing we work on with a level of cooperation between police, fire and rescue and the lifeguards," Sawyer said.
According to Donahue, lifeguards are posted between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. during the summer months. Depending on conditions, there are times when they may be on until dark, he said.
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