GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — The Gulf Shores Beach Rescue team saw a decrease in rescues and missing people from June to July, but the number of public assists, medical aids and preventative actions increased “exceptionally,” according to a Facebook post.

July was an “exceptionally busy,” month, according to the post. The GSFR responded to over 6,000 instances in the month of July.

The rescue team performed 21 rescues, while 22 missing people were reported. All were found and safely relocated with their families. There was nearly a 1,200 increase in the number of public assists compared to June, which had just 301. According to Beach Safety Chief Joethan Phillips, a public assist is when “staff helps elderly or disabled patrons to the beach or vehicle from the beach.”

There were just over 1,000 medical aids calls. The rescue team responded to close to 3,400 preventative actions. Preventative action is when “lifeguards educate patrons on potential dangers, such as rip currents, prior to being rescued or enter the water,” according to Phillips.

A breakdown of each of the given instances can be found below:

  • 21 rescues
  • 1,515 public assists
  • 1,105 medical aids
  • 22 missing people
  • 3,364 preventative actions

Joethan Phillips, beach safety chief, spoke with WKRG News 5 following the June report, which included 32 rescues and over 300 response calls. Phillips shared his thoughts about beach safety in a previous June report.

The main thing is to seek out the safety information before you get to the beach and to heed the bleach flags. If we’re flying red flags, pay attention to those. Also to know your swimming ability, it is not a pool, it is a gulf which is an uncontrolled body of water. Anytime you can learn anything before you get to the beach, especially regarding rip currents and the conditions to where you are coming, would be the most beneficial for the people and it will also help us out as well.

Joethan Phillips, Beach Safety Chief

Just a few days ago, the GFBR was awarded the ‘Smiles Behind the Shield’ honor by WKRG’s Dana Winter. According to Chief of Staff Melvin Shepard, each of the lifeguards responsible for these rescues and actions is between the ages of 17 and 24 years old.

The Gulf Shores website provides several safety tips and provides updates regarding the color of flags on the beaches. Learn more about beach safety on their helpful tips page.

You can check out current beach conditions one of three ways, according to the website:

  • Call 251-968-SURF (7873). 
  • Visit www.gulfshoresAL.gov.
  • Text “ALBEACHES” to 888-777 to receive daily beach conditions via text message.
Flag ColorHazard TypeMeaning
Double RedWater closed to publicEntering the water is prohibited
RedHighHigh surf and/or currents
PurpleDangerous Marine LifeMarine wildlife in water
YellowMediumModerate surf and/or currents

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