Wacky Weather Leading to More Ocean Rescues

Specialists and lifeguards say this summer has been particularly bad for rip currents.
5:15 | 07/12/14

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Transcript for Wacky Weather Leading to More Ocean Rescues
. You know, just this week 300 people were rescued from one California beach alone. And it is not just on the west coast, experts say beach rescues are at an all-time high and there is an unsettling reason why. ABC's Matt Gutman has more. Reporter: In California, a teen plunges into the water. There you see him being rag dolled by the monster surf and current. He goes in after him, and then the other is caught in the current, as well. His buddy takes the plunge, finally, hosting it, and the ocean rescue choppers arrive. He said I think he is dead, I said no, no, we're not going to give up on this kid. This daring rescue caught on camera, just one of so many, doesn't just seem like the sea is swallowing up the swimmers this year, rescue crews say it is, the super charged surfs and rip currents, sweep coast to coast, early Monday at Newport beach, California, the surf was high, they saw a struggling swimmer. He did what he had been trained to do and dove? Then was hit by a large way with the victim and the victim came up and then did not. Experts like the lifeguard at that beach say that too often swimmers just get too confident. People have to know their limitations on what they can do in and out of the ocean. The ocean is dynamic, it is not ever the same. And again, rescue crews are still looking for the 18-year-old swimmer. I tried to save him, I couldn't carry him on my back, I couldn't swim back. Reporter: Here you see this young girl try to cross this channel. It is shallow, but the current sucks her in, and she is bashed back and forth, again and again, slipping to grab her frantic friend. Even this burly rescuer, stopped by the current, finally, she climbs out exhausted after clinging to a rock. There was no lifeguard at this near-drowning, but every year 59,000 americans-plus are rescued from our oceans. And this year, say lifeguards and specialists, it has been particularly bad. In L.A. County alone a 300% increase in rescues. In fact, if you're lucky enough to be grabbed by a lifeguard like Ben, chances are you will survive. And nationwide only 17 people died at beaches last year. We want people to be educated, know their abilities and be able to swim safely in the ocean. Reporter: And it is not just the sunny California coast but the sunshine state has seen rescues soar. We'll put towers in between towers if we have to. Reporter: And it is not just anecdotal, says the fire chief. How much has it been packed because of the economy? I would say we have a 10 to 20% increase with the patrons. Reporter: Mother nature has been very cruel this year he says, unleashing a quiet year in California. Reporter: So it is even like a perfect storm, more rip currents, more rescues. Exactly, rip currents are an ocean-going stream of water. You can't fight it. The olympic swimmer can't fight against it. Reporter: Last week as hurricane Arthur came barrelling through, we were there when a call came in to Daytona Beach. It was somebody that just got caught in the rip tide. Reporter: There on the beach, dozens of people, some in the surf. But despite that, the silent killer, the rip tides, lurk nearby. It is a channel that forms in the sand bar. Reporter: Easily carrying even a strong swimmer out to sea and most often rip currents are invisible. These five girls in central Florida last week were paddle boarding and slammed into these rocks. I thought we were going to die. We couldn't breathe. Reporter: Alex and her friends scrambling onto this rock jetty. So what do you do in a rip current? Your instinct is to go right there to the shore, that is exactly what you should not do. Swim horizontal to the shore to get out. Reporter: And an easy lesson by the mayor. When you go to the beach, you will find flags and safety signage, and ask the lifeguard whether or not all that means. Reporter: Your chances of dying in the water, about 18 million to one, you're 100 times more likely to die in the lightning strike. So if you do wade out in the waves this weekend, rescue crews say sure, bring your camera.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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